Â Saturday Writing Essentials Prompt for January 28th â€¦. Start a story and have your character smell/hear/feel/taste/see something that reminds him/her of someone (s)he knew in the past. Your challenge is to use prose or poetry and describe that person from the past and explain why that particular sensory input reminds your character of the person.
â€œThis is a story I wrote about two years ago and I punched it up a little bit to fit the prompt. â€œ
I was in the storage shed the other day mixing up a bucket of liquid fertilizer when I had to turn around to see if my Papa was there.Â My Papa was my grandfather who died in the late 50â€™s.Â Every now and then a certain smell will conjure him back into my life.Â The smell of the liquid fertilizer was one of those.Â The fertilizer is advertised to be extra rich in vitamins and hormones.Â Ewww, it smelled just like Hadacol.Â
Back in the early 50â€™s my Papa discovered a new tonic that was marketed as a vitamin supplement.Â It was calledÂ Hadacol.Â Papa was a very stern and strict man except when he was taking this new wonder tonic.Â Â After taking the recommended doses, 1 tablespoonful taken 4 times a day in a Â½ glass of water, Papa would turn into a happy, jovial and funny person.Â We even discovered that he could dance.Â All his cares and worries seemed to disappear when he took his Hadacol.Â
Hadacol was marketed as a B-vitamin drink that tasted foul and smelled awful (it smelled like my garden fertilizer).Â The tonic contained 12% ethyl alcohol for a preservative and a Diluted Acid Hydrochloric. Â According to Wikipedia, Diluted Acid Hydrochloric is a heavily diluted form of acid that opens the arteries and allows the body to adsorb ingested ingredients faster, including the 12% alcohol preservative.Â Yikes!Â Papa was drunk.
Hadacol wasÂ the patented product of a four-term Louisiana state Senator, Dudley J. LeBlanc (1894-1971).Â Â LeBlanc was not a medical doctor or a registered pharmacist but he had a talent for selling himself and was one of the worldsâ€™ best patent-medicine salesmen.Â LeBlanc made millions on his Hadacol tonicÂ before heÂ sold the company in 1951.Â After the sale it was discovered that the company was heavily in debt and was operating in the red.Â LaBlancÂ had beenÂ spending more per month on advertising than the product was earning.Â The new owners could not recoup from the undisclosedÂ losses and the Hadacol company soon closed.
Today, the name "Hadacol" has become synonymous with any panacea "cure-all" of dubious origin.Â Hadacol was the lyric subject of several Country/Western (hillbilly)tunes of the time, such as "Hadacol Boogie" which was sung by a number of musical acts, (click here to hear Jerry Lee Lewis sing Hadacol Boogie)Â
As foul tasting and awful smelling as Hadacol was it sure perked up my Papa for a short period of time, he was doing the Hadacol Boogie.
Papa was also a cigar smoker and the smell of cigars will always remind me of him, and to me thatâ€™s a nice smell.Â Someday Iâ€™ll tell you all about a trip we made to Cuba just to buy him a box of Cuban cigars.