Thursday, October 2, 2008
“When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.”
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.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 1:06 PM