She Doesn’t Know Me But

I love this woman at church. I’ve never met her, but I see her every week. She sits in a row in the middle like me, about 3 rows ahead of me. Yes, we are both obviously  creatures of habit; another reason to love her.


I see the back of her head all service, so it’s really her hair that strikes the chord. That amazing, big, teased and sprayed goofy hair. I grew up with women who did their hair just like that. Gramma, mom, and aunts. That hair, teased up to heaven and sprayed was an ungodly sight. It signified fast, loose women who smoked, cultivated dirty minds and flirted and swore like sailors. How I loved and hated them at times, those women. But man, we danced in the kitchen and were baudy and funny.

On good days those women included me in the familial feminine circle, and taught me to apply make-up with a heavy hand and tease my hair. They cooked delicious food when they were motherly and domestic feeling, and made our family a community. A large, dysfunctional, messy group, but we loved each other. Back in those days, when Gramma, her Ronald mcDonald red hair, shampooed and set every friday, and Grampa, the greasy slicked back stuck-in-the-50’s hair- handsome and funny, were the glue that held the family together. Albeit by a tiny, tenuous thread. They’re gone now- Gramma and Gramma, my constants and my champions. But I miss them, and I miss the way the family was then in some respects. We belonged to each other and had each other’s backs, even if the adults were known to stab each other in it once or twice.

So that woman in church, she reminds me of a childhood time when I belonged to a bunch of foul -mouthed women with big hair and kohl-lined eyes. Only they would never step foot in a church. I loved them, so I love her. Don’t stop coming to church lady!




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