“Gee, Helen, I like your hair. Are the highlights something new?”
Something new. Something new?!?
Sure, every woman waits in rabid anticipation for the day when she first notices something silver shining at her from the mirror – and it isn’t jewelry.
My shining glories have been coming on for several years now, but have just reached the point that plucking them would soon render me bald.
Recognizing that my friend was just noticing that I’m not powdering my hair, I swallowed, feigned a delighted smile, looked up at him — he’s about a foot taller than I — and demurely responded: “Oh, yes, it’s a little experiment I’m trying with grey highlights. Don’t you think it makes me look older, more mature?” Of course, no man in his right mind will tell a woman she looks like she should have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, so he swallowed hard before replying, “Well, Helen, you’re way too young to be getting grey hair, so I felt sure this had to be something new you were doing with your hair.” A diplomatic save if ever I heard one.
It is my hope that my hair will turn as my mother’s has – an even, gradual transition as I enter – heavy sigh – yet another stage of life. You know, it’s funny…I don’t really feel hmmrrsfesf years old. Except when I squat down for any length of time beyond twelve seconds and I have to listen to my knees heave and creak as I stand back up. Of course, getting rid of about *^%&^ pounds would help on that score, but we won’t visit that right now. For this week, I can only deal with the grey hair.
With each passing day, I’m finding that grey hair isn’t the only thing telling on my age — recollections of events of my childhood announce that I am a child of the 50s with most of my formative years occurring in the 1960s. A bunch of us at church often have reminisced about our childhoods that revolved around life at the old Winder First Methodist Church over on the corner of Candler and Church Streets. Now the Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, the grand old church building is celebrating its 107th year of service to one congregation or another. Though I was but ten years old when our congregation moved to its present North Broad Street building, some of my fondest memories were of services in The Old Church.
On a recent Sunday night, Dotty and Alan Gunby, Ron Agnew and Carroll Eddleman led a group of 85 – we’re talking about people, not the average age - through a covered dish supper followed by a hymn sing out of the little brown Cokesbury hymnals. As we sang these grand old hymns of the church, I couldn’t help but remember when our church had fourth Sunday night singing out on the lawn of the Methodist Men’s Club building (now the Masonic Lodge). Some of the men would roll a big old upright piano over to the door of the Men’s Club building while others set up ladder back chairs in rows on the grass and we would spend an hour singing from the Cokesbury.
We had a fabulous Men’s Choir of about 35 voices. Those men came from all walks of life and, though some couldn’t carry a tune in the proverbial bucket, they sang with such complete abandon that the rich sound they created was upstaged only by the miracle that these were singing out of the sheer joy of worshiping in song.
Our choir director and accompanist for at least a hundred years, “Miss Beulah” Robinson, would play that old upright piano and we’d search the little brown hymnals for the page numbers of our favorites as we eagerly awaited our turn to shout out our request to sing that next hymn.
My favorite was always # 271 Awakening Chorus. Mr. Robert Beckum was the Men’s Choir leader. He was the sweetest man — the picture of patience. He’d always smile so diplomatically and this wonderful chorus of men would smile and lead the congregation in what is undoubtedly one of the more difficult compositions of the Cokesbury, but, oh, how I loved to sing that song.
Yes sir, these grey hairs are more than an experiment; each one represents a memory from a childhood too wonderful to cover with dye. They are more precious than gold.
Helen Person is a Winder resident and columnist for the Barrow Journal. She can be reached at email@example.com.