A Delightful Announcement

I began growing out my hair last year. Sister Tater has always had long hair, well past her shoulders, but not me. I wore that Dorothy Hamill cut throughout my 20s and then switched it up from there. Never really growing it very long. But last year I decided I wanted long hair, as long as it will grow, which still isn’t nearly as long as Sister Tater’s, it seems.

I made this decision for one reason — Granny Leona had long hair and so did Great Aunt Cil.

I would sit with Granny or Cil in the mornings, or evenings, as they pulled a wide-bristle brush through their hair. Cil’s was white and soft as dandelion puffs. She wore her waist-length hair in braids, wound up around the nape of her neck. Granny Leona kept some of her dark hair throughout her life. She wore Princess Leia braids  long before Carrie Fisher did. Perhaps because my own mother wore her hair teased to a beehive high watching Cil and Granny Leona wrap those braids mesmerized me.

We forget most of our memories of childhood, but we don’t forget the way being with the people who loved us made us feel. We spend a goodly portion of our adulthood trying to recapture that feeling, to pass it along to our own children.

And their children.

Which is the main reason I wanted to grow my hair long — I want the opportunity to mesmerize a grandchild.

Not that brushing one’s hair will have the same affect on every child. I was a child easily entertained. I liked being in the presence of my elders. I liked hearing their stories. I would sit for hours listening to Aunt Cil tell me tales of the people at Christian Bend.

Or Granny tell the stories of raising up Daddy and all his siblings.

Words rise up out of the country.

That’s what I had engraved on Aunt Cil’s tombstone, crafted from pink Tennessee marble, because I believe it was the stories that Granny and Aunt Cil poured into me that flow out of me today.

I can’t wait to tell a grandchild about what a magical place Christian Bend was for me as a child. I hope I get the chance to take them there one day, to introduce them to Aunt Cil and Granny Leona and their Great-grandpa David, who died in the war so long ago.

I’ve already bought that grandchild their first book, and before the year’s end I plan to read that book to our first grandchild.

My Sinner grandbaby.

Ashley is due August 10th.

You’ll have to ask Tim if he grew the beard in an effort to look more grandfatherly.

Who were the elders who mesmerized you as a child?





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  • Tedmgossard

    Well, I decided to trim back my hair, actually clipper it back to as short as Deb allows it. She doesn’t care for it to be completely shaven off. Just too thin for the curls or whatever to matter anymore. ha.

    As to folks that impacted me, especially my grandfather on my mother’s side. A loving, hard working man who loved the Lord, his family and people. My grandmother on my father’s side was a woman I came to admire quite a lot. A hard working lady, even harder working than my mother. And certain at our church, particularly one single lady, Blanche, who faithfully taught us children in Sunday school as we were growing up.

    And congratulations! How neat. Good to read to her asap! ha


  • Right now, it’s my 95-year-old Grandpa who’s been in the hospital since Sunday and we’re not sure he’ll make it out. He was driving a month ago. But he fell. And as one of my doctor friends reminded me this morning, 95-year-olds don’t have a bench to sit on if they get knocked down. So they go downhill fast. He was an All-American football player for Tulane back when they wore leather helmets. He was a gem cutter. He was a union mediator back in the day. And he tells great stories. Thanks for this post today, Karen. Love it.

  • Congrats on the new grandkid!

  • Awwe! Congrats! You’ll be a wonderful grandmother!

  • Fiddlepeg

    Karen, you should give a listen to “Rise Above” by The Trail Band.

  • AFRoger

    My Mom. Enough years between us that she could be my Grandma, but she’s my Mom. Since I got to know only one grandparent who was already far along into ill health, Mom fills that role. She is the one degree of separation to my Grandfather who lost his own mother when he was a little boy. I’ve found the spot where she is buried, alone, under the massive old oak tree that was already a big tree in the 1880’s. Only much, much later did I learn that Mom was a single Mom for nearly eight years before she married my Dad and my other sibs and I came along. I can’t imagine the stigma of that in 1930’s rural America. Grew up bi-lingual. She’s old enough to have three middle names, all two-syllable ones beginning with the vowels I, E and A, all ending in A also. Her name is Leona, but it should be Grace to say the way she has lived her life. Her mind today is sharper than most candidates for high office. She’s done so well in making peace with this life that she’s more than ready for the next, already living it. On Maundy Thursday, she will be 105.

    Congratulations on the coming bridge of your current family and your future one. TBG (thanks be to God)!

  • Mary C.


    My father definitely mesmerized me with his stories. He was from Ireland and definitely had that storytelling gene. He was a gardener on big estates on Long Island. His father (whom I never met) was a gamekeeper on a British lord’s estate in southern Ireland. I remember my father visiting with “the help” in the big house (always a big house on these estates) telling them the old stories of banshees and such…….I never had grandparents and my father was in his 50’s when the first of three girls was born. I wish I could remember and relate those stories to my grandchildren. More important, I wish my two wonderful grandchildren lived closer as I cherish every minute I spend with them as I know you will.

  • Gloria

    Congratulations Granny Karen. I am very excited to be a Great Aunt also. Tell Ashley LOVE the red shoes in the picture 🙂 As far as hair, my very long hair is getting cut today!!!!! Maybe I should rethink that! My dad has awesome stories, I should have written some of them down LONG ago but I count on you being our family writer! Your stories always keep me going. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Ariel Lawhon

    My Papaw used to tug on my pony tail and say, “You know what’s under a pony’s tail don’t you?”

    The year I was born he got his hand caught in a cotton gin and lost most of the fingers on his left hand. His thumb was completely severed. One day when I was four he held up his left hand and wiggled the stump of his thumb. Papaw told me he sucked his thumb clean off when he was my age. I never sucked mine again.

    He’d squeeze my knee and tell that’s how the cow ate the cabbage. He’d rub his whiskers on my cheek and bounce me on his knee and ask me if I wanted to go with him to get the mail when what he really meant was would I like to go with him and get a soda?

    Papaw died when I was fourteen. I hate that my kids never got to meet him.

  • Scot McKnight

    Congratulations to you and all the Sinners. Long hair isn’t close to bald when it comes to mesmerizing!

  • John Norwick

    Karen, Congrats to you and Tim, and Zach and Ashley. Enjoy, and we’ll pray for a safe baby arrival. We’re expecting a new grand-daughter in May, up in Winthrop WA. Looking forward to the new book. Be safe on your travels….John from Walla Walla/Havasu/Loma Linda.

  • Jim Martin

    Congratulations Karen! What a wonderful announcement and a wonderful time in your life.