Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tinsel, Miss Clairol and Gray Hair

Choosing to regard the incoming white hairs on my head in a positive and festive light, I jokingly call them "tinsel."  The pigment production along my hair line has chosen to retire first, thus a very obvious crown of splendor is revealed when I wear a ponytail, which I did today.  

At lunch, my (26-year-old) son and my (60-year-old) husband were inside ordering and I was outside scouting for a place to sit this beautifully sunny February day.  I found a little bistro table with two chairs, then spied a group of young women nearby at a table with an empty chair.  I asked if I could use the chair and they generously said yes.  One of them then informed me the chair was heavy.  

I have a similar wrought iron table and chairs older than the seated young women and was well aware it weighed a tad more than a webbed folding chair.  I lifted it easily and said, "He man!"  I am also aware they may well have never sat in a webbed folding chair and these rainbow colored days, I could have left them questioning my sexuality.  

I didn't care.  I had something to prove and thankfully I didn't drop dead doing it.  As I walked away with the chair, I thought how my arms were strong for the task, a portion of Proverbs 31 I pep talk myself with when I pick up a heavy load.     

After proving I could lift a wrought iron chair with the best of women, my son comes out of the restaurant and tells me he meant for me to nab a table on the street side of the restaurant.  I was undaunted.  It was a mistake anyone ineligible yet for AARP could have made.  I walked to the other side of the building with my graying head held high to join my husband and son for lunch.  

I questioned why they'd want to sit on a busy east-west thoroughfare through town, and my son, who works on this block, said the chances of a panhandler hitting us up were less here--on the shady, windy side of the building where noisy street sweepers and concrete trucks trundled by.  As it turns out, one of the regular panhandlers rode by on a bicycle, looked at me for a moment and kept peddling.  Maybe she thought that old lady didn't have any money.

My son said she'd once hurled epithets at a man who works across the street, so we were spared from having our spare change mooched and from being called ugly names.  The server, who once a upon a time I'd called a waitress, brought out a little kitschy salt and pepper shaker and I said to my husband, "She brought you a toy!"  Before I knew it was a salt and pepper shaker, this is what I saw, minus the two holes at the top.  I didn't have on my glasses at the time.  It looked like a happy meal toy to me!  

Did I tell you, at 50 years young, my distance vision is 20/15?  I kid you not!  Key word, though, is distance.  Right up under my nose I have a serious case of CSS, can't see...I digress.  

My son did his characteristic embarrassed-by-my-mom pose--hand over face, head shaking from left to right.  My husband says, "Oh!  The cow jumped over the moon!  I get it!"  The cow stays fastened by a magnet in case you're wondering, but I suspect you might not be wondering and would have known right away this wasn't a toy.  

We proceeded uneventfully with our lunch on the truck route with panhandlers peddling by.  Afterwards, I rejoiced in my freedom, having raised my children and buried my parents, to do anything I wanted to do.

I chose to visit a produce market.  

I had a ball in there, picking and choosing the best of the fresh squash, tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, lemons, limes, onions, sweet potatoes, cabbage and now I'm drooling--rutabagas!  I raided the freezer and got some already shelled black eyed peas, butter beans and some pre-snapped pole beans.  I even got some celery from the refrigerator.  I wielded a southern woman's knowledge, telling the manager who didn't know, the difference between a Stuart and a paper shell pecan.  A customer asked and anyone working at a produce market ought to know that.    



At the checkout, a beautiful young woman asked me *twice* if I wanted help with carry out.  I said, "Not yet," inwardly hoping that I wouldn't need help for another quarter century.  Now that I reflect, I think I'll shoot for 85 before I accept help with carry out.

Anyway, I had a number of bags and carried them easily.  I was tempted to air bench press them a couple of times as I left to prove to her this tinsel topped woman had more strength in her arms than she did, working at a job where she pecked keys of a cash register with her forefinger, not much effort to that! 

Standing at the top of the steps down to the parking lot, I suddenly remembered that pride goeth before a fall and I really didn't feel like wiping out there, all my produce scattering where truly old men and women spit their chaw and dip.  Did I tell you my grandma dipped snuff?  Not Grannie, though she used to smoke Kool cigarettes, but Grandma.   

Oops.  I digressed again.  

I made it to my truck, not parked in a handicapped spot, and when I got home once again handily carried those bags inside with one trip, about four to each hand.  A few minutes later, I got the shot gun ready for some stubborn salesmen who wouldn't leave, but didn't point it at them.

It's not the easiest thing sometimes, to be a seasoned southern woman, but I'm working on it and I pray the good Lord gives me a very long time to do it.  I think I'm being sensible about it, really, not putting God-knows-what chemicals on my head trying to disguise the fact that I'm not 29 anymore. Who knows what else would happen to my faculties when Miss Clairol leeched into my brain?  

Now the above picture was truly what first came to mind.  Where in tarnation was that filed in the matter in my head, gray like some of the strands on my head?  I googled about and discovered Miss Clairol is not a Miss anymore, but simply Clairol.  Well, Clairol can't do a blessed thing for neck crepe and droopy boobies, more neon signs of old age, so why bother trying to disguise aging hair?  

I've heard getting old isn't for sissies.  My late mother-in-law said, "Gettin' old's hell."  

I haven't found it hellish yet, but so help me, I'm going to do this aging thing with as much dignity as I can, believing Proverbs 16:31, I'm sporting a crown of glory or splendor, depending on the translation.  Elsewhere in Proverbs, it says I am (or should be) clothed with strength and dignity and can laugh at the days to come, but today, it seemed, the laughs were on me!