We all have our own stories of who first introduced you to a titillating morsel of HOT! My was this older character from www.EnnisHomeRepair.com, Danny!
No, he wasn’t a home repair man at the time. He was just an older neighbor who was the neighborhood Svengali among all the kids. He had the ability to make you think you wanted to do what he wanted to see you do. That can be, and was at times, dangerous.
Jalapenos were abundant where I was raised. And so available, it became the standard of HEAT for all of us kids. But, a sophisticated kid like Danny had an eye beyond the limited horizon of us younger kids.
An aunt of Danny’s lived in New Mexico and would visit about every other year. I didn’t know her, never met her, but just heard stories Danny would tell. Really amazing stuff…things about brujas (Mexican witches) and curandera (Mexican healers) and some pretty outrageous results of the aunt’s encounters with these people.
So, being a kid and having the typical life of a kid in the neighborhood, I happened to get a splinter lodged in my little finger. It just so happened that splinter came from a piece of wood my mother had clearly instructed me not to play with just the day before.
Having been cut off from a kid’s only sure fire medical relief (I couldn’t go to mom, I’d get into trouble ), then naturally you turn to the secondary medical assistance, your neighborhood friends.
Danny said, “I’ll have to go and get the stuff my aunt left, that her curandera gave to her. I’ll be right back.” Man, that sounded really official to me…a medicine beyond my understanding but obviously approved and sanctioned by real medical professionals.
No needle, just this long, cubical, flat, dried brownish red habanero pepper. Of course, I didn’t know what it was at the time.
Instructions from the curandera, through the aunt, through Danny, to me….rub the splinter location with the pepper, say three time, “Come loose from me” and take the biggest bite you can of the pepper. You will know if the splinter is going to come out, if this sweet bean tastes hot in your mouth. You can’t spit it out, whether it tastes sweet or hot, you’ve got to swallow the whole bite if it’s going to work.”
I bit…it was hot…two days later, mom took the splinter out.