The gift’s purpose was to heal the crackle and peeling skin of my husband’s hands, with fingernails that splits sabotaged and callouses on the thumb pads, as if he endlessly strummed a guitar. His hands looked as if he worked as an outdoor laborer without gloves. He was a traveling salesman, who needed to establish rapport with a handshake. Smooth skin was required, not off-putting and harsh feeling hands.

The purpose of the Vaseline-like product was, as the name harkens, to milk cows bags smooth and supple, the better to yield milk for consumers. My mother inherited a farm from her parents, a farm which had been in her family for generations. A farm which relied on a herd of Holsteins to deliver goods, so that the product was a fixture of my mother’s childhood, too.

The balm worked well to heal my husband’s crackly, unkempt feeling hands. And then spring weather arrived, with its warmth, and my husband no longer needed Bag Balm to supple his hands. The product, only half-used, was stored in lower cabinets in our bathroom and languished in the back as a cast-off friend. We purchased other ointments and lotions and creams to achieve smooth and healthy skin.

Now, as you all know, our homestay/quarantine has extended beyond anyone’s expections. My husband and I are capable and creative people, so we’ve been able to manage quarantine as best we can. BUT, there comes a point when everything fun is done. It was time to tackle the closets and cupboards and gather things to donate to Goodwill.

Thus, I found the Bag Balm.

Huzzah and hurrah. I now had the crackly heels caused by endless days worn in tennis shoes rather than sandals. I’d neglected my rituals of softening my heals. Bag Balm was precisely the product I needed, despite the fact I had no where to go in the current lock-down. I needed to begin rituals of pampering myself. Surely monthly pedicures would resume in the near future, not the distant.

As soon as we were able to receive the peskily illusive vaccine shot, my husband and I plan to dine out.

I had a problem to solve and a solution in my hands: Bag Balm.

My husband tolerates my well-worn pajamas – and my nightly fix of Vicks lining my nostrils so that I can breathe freely – but I crossed the line recently when I applied Bag Balm before coming to bed. But the night I slathered my heels with the greasy cure, covered my feet with white anklets, and donned my pilled cotton PJs, and jumped into bed, I nearly slithered out of bed.

What happened next is the stuff of legends… what to you imagine happened, Constant Reader? Write the happy ending in the comments, please and thanks.