Last fall I wrote about liquid sulfur after watching a tanker carrying its load of it through the streets of Fredonia. What was it, I wanted to know. And why was it here? And where was it going?
Unfortunately, my curiosity remains unabated for I know no more about any of that than I did after writing the column. I had learned by then that trying to burn it was a wasted effort and that, what little did ignite, caused a headache. I do know it is used primarily as a fertilizer but still cannot imagine why having it in liquid form carried any advantage over spraying a powder which is not dangerous to transport.
It surprised me at the time that my creaky mind automatically associated sulfur with brimstone and that I was right on. They are the same. (There are some things I do not think my mind really needs to store. And there are a lot I'd rather it did instead.)
I also thought of sulfur and molasses though at the time wasn't any more certain what that signified. Now I am.
Sulfur-rich waters have long been considered a healing magnet for tourists with just about any aches and pains. "Limp in, leap out," one such area advertised. And certainly, wherever sulfur springs were discovered, tourists clustered and the locals made heaps of money. Whether or not there is any actual efficacy may be debated by some but, as we all know by now, just believing oneself better off is frequently the only tonic required.
Sulfur, one can learn, is an important part of protein which helps cells utilize oxygen. Found in egg yolks, milk, lots of green vegetables and most kinds of beans, it's a good thing to have around. Especially inside us. Only trouble is that it tastes dreadful. Having a metallic flavor it is described as "strong, bitter and sour." Yuk. Right?
Therefore, someone figured out that eating sulfur was doable if mixed with molasses.
And molasses by itself is also pretty hard to swallow though it's rich in all sorts of good minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Good for just about anything that ails you, perhaps. (Interesting also to read that some claim blackstrap molasses will reverse gray hair, apparently because a lack of copper in the body can lead to prematurely graying. I've earned all mine and will wear it proudly.)
Blackstrap molasses, incidentally, which seems to be the molasses of choice, is what's left after all the sucrose has been taken out of the sugar cane processing. It can also control high blood pressure and helps positively with circulatory problems.
(Looking at the computer printout I made last fall, I see I neglected the article on "How to Kill Ants with Grits and Molasses." Perhaps another column in the future?)
Reading further, I find there is nothing super about the combination other than, in excess (which may be very little), it can also work as a laxative. So, if one isn't careful, one can become extra healthy and extra thin. Still, it sounds like it should be a required spring tonic for us all . . . maybe. I am not practicing medicine or even recommending what I do not know. (And I have never tried it.)
Think perhaps I'll just wait for the warm weather and sunshine. That's the only tonic I need.
Indeed think spring!
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org