Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting My Hair Done

The humidity of this summer has made my wavy hair look like a dust bunny on steroids, so the other day I made an appointment for a cut and color. The addition of chemicals to my locks sometimes tames the frizzies.

My hairdresser lives on the other side of the county, and her little shop is a popular hangout spot, so a haircut is always an opportunity to chat with people I haven’t seen in a while.  Plus, the drive over is gorgeous.  When I pulled up to the gate, Carla’s big brown dog was the first to greet me, wagging his tail and barking hello. The shop was empty for the moment, so we got right to business.  Rather than having my hair completely colored, I opted for highlights.  We settled on gold and red.  Carla tugged a tan highlighting bonnet over my head and tied it tightly between my chins. It resembled an aviator’s cap and with the addition of a set of goggles, I could have been mistaken for a plump Amelia Earhart.  Then she proceeded to jab a dangerous looking hook through each of the dots on the cap and twist until she had fished out a strand or two of my curls.  Within twenty minutes, tufts of my hair were sprouting randomly out of the shiny plastic bonnet and I looked like a balding clown with a bad comb-over.  Although I missed the usual chatter and gossip of other customers, I was glad that Carla and I were the only ones in the shop.

Just as Carla tugged the last strand through, two of my former male students walked in.  One of them was the hairdresser’s son, so maybe he was used to seeing middle-aged women disguised as clowns.  The other was just naturally polite. Neither of them snickered or made me feel the least bit self-conscious about my bonneted head full of bushy tufts or the strap accentuating my two chins.  Instead, we gabbed a bit about farming and karaoke and then they left.

Five minutes later, another former student, Kayla, came in.  She settled into the chair by the sink and watched as Carla applied the caustic chemicals to my hair.  We chatted about weddings and babies until the timer rang for my rinse.   Kayla leaned in to inspect the tufts.  “I don’t think it did anything,” she said.  Carla rinsed and rubbed and patted and agreed.  “Shoot,” she said, “It must have been too dark.”  Then, she disappeared into the back of the shop and when she reappeared she was carrying a large white jar, a bowl and a brush.  She mixed another magic potion and painted it onto my limp locks.

 “Have you ever melted anybody’s hair?” I asked nervously.  Kayla laughed and Carla kept on painting and rubbing.  Then she set the timer again.  I watched my head in the mirror.  Was anything happening up there?  Kayla and Carla studied it, as well.  “I think it’s lifting now,” Kayla finally said.  Apparently lifting is a good thing, because five minutes later I was at the sink for my second rinse.

After the rinse, my hair still looked dark, but Carla pulled out her hair dryer and a big round brush and before long, I could see it, too.  Coppery highlights shimmering in the shop lights.  “Oh my gosh,” Carla gushed, “you look twenty years younger.”  I turned this way and that inspecting my new gingery do.  Carla had brushed it to a silky shine and it slid seductively around my face.  I grinned all the way to my car. 

But, wavy hair is stubborn.  By the time I got home my hair was no longer silky and shiny.  The humidity had conquered the color.  My hair cut was cute and coppery, but now I looked like a fox-colored fuzz ball. 

No matter. Next time I see Kayla she’ll probably ooh and aah and make me feel like a queen.  After all, she had a hand in my transformation.  Besides, around here a haircut and color is just another bonding experience.  I’m sure we’ll be doing it again, soon.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Polishing the Family Jewels

     I have been polishing my jewels today.  First, I buffed my eggs to a pearly shine.  They come from chickens Joe and I picked up together from a hatchery in Harrisonburg.  It is run by an 80 year old man who told us that he will end his poultry production this year.  His children have no interest in continuing the farming tradition and his land is coveted by a developer who is willing to pay a premium for it.   Joe and I have been visiting with him at least once a year for the past eight years.  It makes me sad to think of another family farm disappearing. 
     The eggs also remind me of trips we have taken to the poultry fair.  Hen hawkers of all sizes, shapes and nationalities gather in a large parking lot on the edge of town once every six weeks to talk turkey or duck or chicken and swap and sell their feathered friends.  When we replenish our egg layers, Joe and I often gather the older girls and take them over the mountains to the gravel lot and try to get a couple of dollars for them.  We find that, unless there’s an Indian, Russian or Mexican looking for a good meal, most of them go to backyard producers who seem to have a bit of an avian addiction.  It makes me happy to think of our girls living out the rest of their lives like somebody's family friends.
     After the eggs, I polished the jars of peaches I canned yesterday.  They remind me of the many trips Joe and I have taken to the orchards dotting the northern half of the Shenandoah Valley.  These peaches came from Turkey Knob which is a huge fruit packing operation just past Broadway with warehouses three stories high.  We’ve also bought fruit from a delightful Mennonite family who gave us a taste of the homemade potato chips they were frying in a black iron kettle outside the apple shed and from a small family farm tucked at the foot of North Mountain. Joe and I got lost on the way home and saw some amazing scenery.

     I can’t wear my peaches on my fingers and eggs would look silly dangling from my ears, but  I treasure the memories that they brought as I polished them. What are your jewels?