Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hair Combs

In the evening my grandmother would sit in her rocking chair by the front window surrounded by African Violets and Geraniums and slowly take the combs out of her waist-length hair. As she'd talk she'd pull the combs through her grey locks. There was something reassuring watching my grandmother do this; sitting there surrounded outside by the acres she and my grandfather had farmed for years. She represented tradition. She spoke for those who came before us; sharing their stories so we'd be able to share them with future generations. We'd hear about her days of living in the farmhouse with six daughters, parents, and a hard-working husband who in the evening would chew tobacco as he sat in the front parlor and read. We'd hear about the barn and favorite horses and bringing the hay in from the back fields.

When she was finished combing her hair she would put the combs in her lap and gather the hair together in a ponytail. Then she'd do a few twists, pulling the hair up on her head into a bun,

securing it only with the hair combs. Her hair always stayed in that bun. No matter what she did the combs never fell out. I've tried doing that but it's never worked like it did for my grandmother. She had a magic twist I have yet to master.

To think of the money we spend on our hair. Between coloring and glitzing and streaking and shaping so much money goes into maintaining hair.
My grandmother did it with a few plastic combs. To me she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever known. Her beauty and strength came from within with her hair always gathered in a bun; something I could count on to be a constant despite the world changing around me and despite my growing up from that little girl watching her comb her hair in the evening while she sat in her rocker to the teenager stopping in to see what kinds of cookies she'd baked to the adult bringing my own children to visit this woman with long hair gathered in a bun and arms outstretched to greet us. Priceless!

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