Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hair Today

“When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

An evocative word, a potent tool; used too sparingly for fear of being the lone dissenter, or for fear of causing offence.
My mother once took her elderly aunt for a drive, gathering bits and pieces, doing the grocery and assisting with little tasks.
After a time, the Aunt insisted that they take a certain direction. Mater, willing and able, drove the Aunt where the instructions led to.
Mater turned off the car's engine outside what appeared to be a hair salon. It was a hair salon.
Indoors they went, my mother imagining that the worst the afternoon might bring would be having to sit and wait while the Aunt sat under a dryer.
"Now," said the Aunt suddenly, "we'll soon get that grey out of your hair."
Mater, who was far too busy in the real world to notice the colour of her hairs, was thoroughly appalled at the notion.
"What?" was all that she could muster.
An old lady- the owner- stood by with a cape in her hands and a bright smile on her trusting face, and just a dash of hope. Apparently, the appointment had already been paid for by the enthusiastic Aunt: Mater's grey hairs were doomed, each and every one.
Mater was propelled into a seat, where her head was subjected to all manner of implements, sprays and chemicals. When she drove home hours later her straight grey hair had turned brown, curly, and incalculably angry. The colour and the shape were on the outside; the fury was contained inside the hair and the Aunt never felt a moment's worth of the wrath.
Mater never said no: I saw that head of hair shortly afterward, and we all came to the grim conclusion that she really should have.
Such a tiny, harmless-as-a-mouse word: but we ought to exclaim it all the same, when we suspect that something is not quite right. Next time, it might be more than hair.


Pappy said...

My mother is 88 years young and not one gray hair in her head. At least not one you can see. When my daughters asked her when she planned to stop dying her hair, she replied, "When I'm too weak to sit up in the chair at the beauty parlor. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, she sounds like a very good woman. That's the spirit. We could all use some of that.

Beth said...

Texican's mother is truly a good woman. A southern belle through and through. When I was a young mother in south Texas and had just delivered baby #2, his mother (my aunt) arrived at my home with a car laden with meals, desserts and diapers to last a week. I've never forgotten it and never been able to emulate it.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Beth, we need more people like that. It's rare when we do meet them. As far as you not being able to emulate it: I've no doubt, knowing how much you do for other people, that somebody somewhere is praising you, and wishing they could do as much. But that does indeed sound like a mighty thing to do for someone who's just had a baby. Unforgettable.

Jaime said...

I really should have read these stories the other way around...I am going backwards!

Wonderful tale, as usual.


Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

It doesn't matter what order you read them in ;) Backwards is good too!
I'm just very glad to see you back here!

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