I had my hair done on Wednesday. I’ve been going to the same stylist for the past several years. I’m picky about hairdressers. Like Paul, I believe that a woman’s hair is her glory, especially after she reaches a certain age. It may be the only reminder of the youthfulness that has long sense faded or given way to gravity. I hope to go to my death bed with the hair of Rapunzel as my cover.
The way I figure if the gal doing your hair has bad hair, you better find you a new stylist. My hairdresser is a beautiful woman. Ivy has long, golden hair that always looks great.
I’ve had my share of really bad hair days, months, and years. I’ve even had the dreaded mullet. I’ll spare you the photo but the hairdresser who gave it to me was a high-priced fella in Walla Walla. I never went back to him after that haircut.
Since God didn’t give me naturally glorious hair the way he did my son and my youngest daughter, going to the stylist takes up either my morning or my afternoon. Today it was my afternoon.
Because the gal who does my hair owns her own salon and works alone, she is often answering phones and talking to other clients as she does my hair. I don’t mind. Beauty parlors are their own little communities.
Today as I was “processing” — that’s code for getting rid of the grey — an elderly lady wearing polyester slacks and worn-out loafers shuffled into the parlor. She was carrying a picture book and a small black purse.
“You’re appointment isn’t until next week,” Ivy told the lady as she paused from cutting a young girl’s hair.
“Next week?” the old woman asked.
“Yes,” Ivy said. “Tuesday.”
But the old lady hadn’t really come for a hair appointment. She had come to show Ivy her Christmas gift — a picture book of her great-grandchildren. It was a lovely book, full of colorful photos of a tow-headed girl and her chubby-cheeked brother.
I know because after she had passed the book to everyone else in the room, the old lady brought it to me.
“You know who that is you are talking to?” Ivy called out. “Tell her who you are.”
I was confused. I thought she meant for the silver-haired gal to give me her name, but instead Ivy meant for me to give the lady my name.
“I’m Karen Zacharias,” I said.
“She is always bringing me your columns from the newspaper,” Ivy said.
“You don’t look like your photo,” said the old lady.
“No, I reckon not,” I said, my hair matted from the processing.
I looked at her picture book and commented on her beautiful great-grandchildren. I told her that she had the prettiest head of white hair I’ve ever seen. It was thick and nicely cut and well, just glorious hair.
“I guess it’s pretty good for a woman my age,” she said. “I’m 90.” I didn’t ask her age, she offered it.
Oh. And you should know she has excellent hearing for a woman her age, my hairdresser said after she called me back to the styling chair.
“She’s sweet,” I said.
“Oh, no she’s not,” Ivy whispered, rearing back from the wash basin. “She’s not sweet at all. She says the meanest stuff. I call her Miz Grumblebutt.”
Apparently Miz Grumblebutt has been through her share of hairdressers in town and she isn’t pleased with a single one of them. In fact, there isn’t much in her life that Miz Grumblebutt has been happy about — other than those great-grandchildren of hers.
Miz Grumblebutt has a potty mouth that would leave a veteran slack-jawed. Once when my stylist was washing somebody’s hair, Miz Grumblebutt came over to her and asked, “Do you mean to being showing this much butt-crack?” She held her fingers four inches apart. “Because with those pants of yours that’s exactly how much you are showing.”
“Why no,” Ivy answered. “I wasn’t intending to show any.”
Then she laughed. What else could she do?
Recently Miz Grumblebutt approached a client who had just paid good money for a perm and asked, “You aren’t going out the door with your hair looking like that are you? Because that would be bad advertising for Ivy. You should fix it before you leave or soon as you get home.”
The woman didn’t know what to say and neither did Ivy so they both just stood there in wide-eyed shock, while Miz Grumblebutt rattled on.
When my hairdresser got pregnant by a man who wasn’t her husband, Miz Grumblebutt gave her the what for, chawed her up one side and down the other. Lest you think Miz Grumblebutt was compelled by fundamentalism to chide those less moral than she, you should know that Miz Grumblebutt doesn’t ascribe to a faith of any sort. She’s just a woman who says what she pleases no matter who it displeases.
Ivy got so fed up with Miz Grumblebutt once that she told her she didn’t have any appointment time to see her but Miz Grumblebutt kept calling. So Ivy jacked up her prices real high, thinking that Miz Grumblebutt wouldn’t pay that much money to have her hair done but she did. She kept complaining but she kept coming back to heap out more abuse.
Over time, her whining wore Ivy down in a good way. Ivy has grown to love quirky old Miz Grumblebutt. On her birthday she baked her a cake. When Ivy took it over to her house, Miz Grumblebutt opened the door and told Ivy she didn’t have time to talk. Instead she took the cake and shut the door in her face. “I got company coming,” she said by way of explanation. Ivy couldn’t even remember if Miz Grumblebutt ever thanked her for the cake.
It doesn’t matter.
Ivy will likely make her another one next year.
Next week she’ll call Miz Grumblebutt and remind her that she has a hair appointment on Tuesday. On Tuesday, Miz Grumblebutt will call Ivy six times to reconfirm that appointment. If she can’t get ahold of Ivy, she call her mama and tell her to call Ivy.
I think the reason Ivy has grown to love Miz Grumblebutt is that she knows there’s a bit of grumblebutt in all of us.
A spirit of discontentmentment.
A sense that no matter how much others do for us, it’s never enough.
I guess it only goes to show that whether we are 19 or 90, we are glorious works in process.
God isn’t finished with us yet.