Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, August 24, 2017

An Onion Truth

Eat your onions!

I know that this statement seems to have nothing to do with what follows, but bear with me . . .

The 1918 flu pandemic (the Spanish Flu) was an influenza pandemic that spread widely across the world. Most victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or weakened patients. The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920, spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. Between 50 and 100 million died, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. An estimated 50 million people, about 3% of the world's population (1.6 billion at the time), died of the disease. 500 million, or 1/3 were infected.
-                                                                                                                                   - World History Project

And now we'll tie it together . . .
My Husby’s maternal grandparents, Artie J. and Ovedia Seely and their children, weren’t affected by the disease. One of few families that managed to avoid it. Even though every other family in the sleepy town of Stirling, Alberta, like the rest of the world, had one or more (or all) members sick with the deadly disease.
For months during the worst of the outbreak in their small community, Artie and one other unaffected man tended the farms and fed the animals for all of the other farmers.
Before daybreak every day, the two men were feeding animals, milking cows, cleaning, tending . . . performing all of the myriad tasks that constituted farming.
At every farm.
Every day.
It took the whole day.
Artie would return to his home and gulp down a hasty lunch, then head out once more.
Grandma Ovedia Fawns Seely
Onion cooker extraordinaire!
Returning only after sunset to snatch a few hours of sleep before he starting over again.
And still, with all of the work and worry, he and his wife remained unaffected.
The reason?
Earlier that year, the two of them, Artie and Ovedia, had harvested a bumper crop of onions.
Every meal featured some incarnation of the remarkable vegetable.
Both of them believe that that fact alone kept them from succumbing.
I will give them the benefit of any doubt.
They . . . lived . . . through it.

P.S. My Husby has spoken with two other ‘old-timers’ who also lived through the great and terrible influenza pandemic. They, too, maintain that their families survived due largely to the fact that they ate onions with every meal.
You heard it here first.
Oh, and see that onion on your plate? Eat it.

4 comments:

  1. We do eat a lot of onions....mayhap I shall step up the amount I serve.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yet another reason to love this tasty vegetable.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There may be something to it, too.

    I miss eating raw onions so much. I love them but my stomach doesn't. I wonder if cooked onions have the same medicinal value ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Onions are a big favourite with my family. I don't think there's a single person who doesn't like them. And garlic, we love garlic. We don't get sick either.

    ReplyDelete

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