Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Hairdresser

For as long as I can remember, mother has always had a weekly standing hair appointment. For many years now, she has traveled down to the nearby town each week to a place called "Linda's Hairtaker." Some of Linda's workers have come and gone, but the owner, Linda, has always remained. I can't say enough about Linda and the young lady who fixes mother's hair nowadays, Kim. They are very caring, loving and personable people, and especially when it comes to my mother.

It was "hair day" and I had come to pick mother up. Arriving a little more than thirty minutes early, in case I got into a fix or something unusual happened that I might need to take care of while there. I had left mother a note telling her what time I would get there and exactly what she needed to do before I came. As she opened the side garage door, I could see that she had followed my instructions and changed from her raggedy, old, baby blue tennis shoes to her black "going out" walking shoes. I said, "well mother, you did change your shoes!" A usual "Uh huh" and a grin was all she gave me.

Since there was plenty of time to kill, she and I headed for the living room. I could see that mother had something on her mind. "You know, I'm not going to call the law or anything, but I'd like to, It just burns me up, all these people coming down here seining my creeks at night for fishing minnows! And the thing that makes me so mad is that they don't even ask permission." Well, mother does have a creek which runs down through her pasture, but it is not in a place for her to see anyone who might be seining for minnows, especially during the night. Through the years, mother has had one more time with people, lights and animals she has envisioned to be in her creek at night. I don't feel like debating this subject with her so she seems pleased and we move on to another complaint.

I have written several times about the "old lady" who mother claims to live up above her in a house with dog cages circling her home. To hear mother tell it, this woman has stolen every female dog she has leaving her with the one dog which she calls "Annie," but has taken all the other dogs which she just so happened to name "Annie" as well. This conversation is becoming tiring to me so I glance at my watch and say, "mother, we have some time, so let's drive up the road and you show me where this lady lives." Well, to say the least, she didn't like that. She told me that the last time she went up there, the old lady's husband came out and he acted like he didn't much care for her being there. I said well, you can just point to me where the house is and we won't get out. Of course, mother was unable to show me where this house was and became agitated at me at the very thought my of not believing her.

By this time now, we need to be traveling on down the road to Linda's. As we drive up I tell mother that I will run get her a plate of food while she's inside and assure her that I will return in plenty of time to pick her up. As a rule, we would go out to eat after her hair appointment but there had to be a change in mother's appointment time which puts us getting home much later so I decided to try this arrangement for a while. As I take mother in, Linda stands fixing one other lady's hair. "Hello Margie!" Linda says. Mother takes a double look at Linda and says, "Well, who are you? I say, "it's Linda mother!" "You're name's not Linda!" I say "why yes it is mother!" In disbelief, mother says, "now what is your name really." Linda said, "well, just for today, I'm Linda."

I turn and leave, giving Linda a look and telling mother to sit down and wait until she finishes with her other customer and to please stay put and not go anywhere!"

I recall one day when I had dropped mother off and came back to pick her up. Mother's dementia had just begun and none of us were as protective of her as we are now. As I drove up to the top of the hill, Linda's assistant, Kim, was right on mother's heels as she had left her sitting on the bench outside to wait for me and mother had decided to meet me out at the end of the parking lot. Another time, my niece Shelly, had come down on her summer break from teaching to help out with mother. She had taken her for her hair appointment and when mother finished up with her hair, Shelly decided to get her eyebrows waxed. As she sat in the chair, she whispered to Kim that she sure hoped "Mema" didn't go anywhere. Kim told Shelly that if she started out the door, Linda would yell." This tickled Shelly as she thought about the system these two had worked out in order to keep "Mema" safe.

I appreciate Linda and Kim for the love, kindness and patience that they have shown mother through the years. Every time we leave there, I wonder if it will be the last hair appointment that mother will have.

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