About Linda Thornton

Author, Writer and Blogger: amoxiegirl.com

Charleston, South Carolina: A City With Good Taste- November 2022

Photo Charleston Plantation                                                    Boone Hall Plantation

You won’t find any skyscrapers in Charleston. The cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages and pastel colored antebellum homes are a testament to the city’s rigorous preservation and strict architectural guidelines. 

Humbled by its air of aristocracy and elegance, I couldn’t help but think of the element of human suffering that lurks in the city’s shadows. The city was the key port responsible for the sale and transport of enslaved African Americans to all the major cities in the U.S. Rather than shying away from its history, Charleston strives to tell the real stories of its past by honoring it and educating us. 

Stay

Our Airbnb was just a couple of blocks from King Street; the perfect location. It was a lovely, two story home and each bedroom had its own bathroom. I loved the cozy patio on the second floor and all the amenities the owner so thoughtfully left for us.

Savor

This is one of the few cities I’ve visited where making Open Table reservations one – two weeks ahead didn’t ensure our first restaurant choice. I’m not sure if COVID was to blame or if restaurants are always this crowded, but I suggest planning way ahead – especially if you’re a group, like we were. The six of us like to share entrees, so we experience the menu. Since we were in oyster country, our appetizer was a foregone conclusion.

We were introduced to our first taste of South Carolina’s low country cuisine at Delaney’s Oyster House. Seafood based and served mostly with rice, it’s similar to New Orleans’ creole style cooking. Dining in the historic home, we had a view of the palm trees swaying on the outdoor patio as we feasted on crab and rice, swordfish and fried oysters. By the time we dined at Poogan’s Porch, a restored Victorian home, we were well versed in the cuisine and headed right for the shrimp and grits, scallops and fried chicken.

Never ones to pass up French restaurants, we were not disappointed with the mussels and frites at the cozy Bistronomy. At 39 Rye de Jean, housed in a lovely building circa the 1800s, we enjoyed the scallops, pork chops and lamb shank, and chuckled at the sign above the bar that read “Ooh La La.”

We were impressed when one of the members of the Hyman family stopped by our table to greet us. Hyman’s Seafood, the big, rollicking family owned restaurant has been perfecting itself since 1890. We were greeted with tastes of warm hushpuppies while we waited outside for our table (no reservations are accepted). Brian has been cajoling anyone that walks by into tasting their specialty for years. The combination of the warm, cornmeal based golden fritters and his warm smile and big personality, made it hard to say no. While we waited for our (award winning) she crab soup and fried seafood, served with more hushpuppies, we took turns reading aloud the small cards left on the table. Each with its own positive saying, you are invited to choose your favorite and then turn it in at the gift shop for a free magnet with that same saying. You can guess where we headed right after lunch. At first, we were surprised to see six large, old fashioned working sinks in the middle of the shop, but then realized how clever that was. They were placed there to wash your hands with their famous salt scrub and give it a try before you made a purchase. 

The message on the menu read “Lard Have Mercy!” That set the tone for Sunday Brunch at Big Bad Breakfast. After ordering The Jack Benny (a crispy fried hash cake, two poached eggs, sliced ham, wilted spinach, hollandaise and ham powder), it was hard to choose a side, since it seemed as if most of the menu was already on my plate! My choice of the broiled, sugar coated bruleed grapefruit was a good one. Having raised breakfast to an art form, no reservations are accepted, but if there is a wait, it’ll be worth it. 

This is not your ordinary de-sanctified church turned bar/restaurant. Look up to the ceiling at Church and Union and you’ll notice rows of white cursive writing on the black ceiling. Artist, John Morris was commissioned to paint the inspirational messages from “The Wayward Seaman,” the 2500-year old manuscript that discusses the art of war. Penned by Chinese General, Sun Tzu in the fifth century, it provided motivational guidance and strategic thinking that proved applicable in all situations. One of my favorite quotes was “Move swift as the wind and closely formed as the wood.” Working 12 hours each evening, it took Morris six months to complete all 13 chapters. 

Sightsee

Walking to the wharf via historic King Street, it was refreshing to see local and regional shops outnumber national chains. Eclectic, yet exuding sophistication, we were taken with the area’s vibe. Across from waterfront park, you couldn’t help but stop in front of each mansion along the street to relish its splendor and wonder about its past.

When in Charleston, a plantation tour is a must! Named the No. 1 plantation in Charleston by USA Today, we chose Boone Hall Plantation, not the closest, but well worth the Uber ride. Built in 1681 by Englishman Major John Boone, the 738-acre estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is still a working farm.

Our tickets included an entire day of events and tours. Boone Hall is the only Charleston plantation to present a distinctive presentation titled “The Gullah Culture,” in which descendants of the Gullah people present the history of their slave culture through stories, song and dance. A tour of the mansion built in 1936 provided us with some background into the life of a plantation owner. A 40-minute tour of the grounds on a motorized tractor helped us appreciate the vastness of the property and its farm. The self-guided tour of the nine original slave cabins dating back to 1790 – 1810, were an emotional glimpse into the aspects of daily life.  

Still eager to discover more about this amazing city, we booked a walking tour through Walks of Charleston. Not only did our tour guide, Amy Tankersley, have a wonderful sense of humor, she had a way of making every detail interesting. Who else would take it upon themselves to actually construct a diorama in order to explain the original city’s walls?! I particularly loved the alleys we visited; narrow public streets that widened to all of a sudden surprise you with glances of interesting homes and beautiful gardens. We would never have found these hidden gems on our own or gained so much insight into Charleston. 

In only a few short days, Charleston had succeeded in winning us over us with its southern charm, reminding us “Y’all come back now, ya hear?”

Photo Charleston Alley

                                            Another “secret” public street

Something Old, Something New Mexico- October 2021

Photo Santa Fe 1

Albuquerque

New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque, spreads itself out in two distinct areas: a modern downtown and the historic Old Town, made up of adobe buildings dating back to 1706. 

Old Town is where we wanted to be, so we chose the Hotel Albuquerque, just a short walk away. The hotel lobby, with its tile floors, white adobe walls, rustic chandeliers and tooled leather furniture made up for the plainly decorated rooms. 

Shops and galleries specializing in Native America lined Old Town’s Plaza. Winding paths, placitas (small plazas) and gardens softened the tourist feel. The Sawmill Market, the 25.000 square foot artisanal food hall/market sits alongside lofts, artist studios and retail space in the Historic Sawmill District.

Dinner at El Patio was worth the drive. The old hacienda with its lush gardens and famous tree lined patio is home to their famous sopaipillas (English translation- sofa pillows); deep fried pastry eaten with honey as a bread. Serving Northern New Mexican food for the last 40 years, the large dining room at Tomasita’s had a loud, cheerful vibe and was the perfect place to share some of its lunch specialties.

The highlight of our Albuquerque visit was our stay at the Hotel Parq Central on our return to Albuquerque the last night of our trip. Though not as centrally located as the Hotel Albuquerque, the hotel provides shuttle service to the airport and within a three-mile radius of the hotel.

Listed on the National Historic Register, the hotel was once the home of the hospital for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad employees. Painstakingly renovated back to its 1926 splendor, every space exuded art deco elegance. I made it a point to luxuriate on a chaise lounge in the sun filled conservatory after our gourmet continental breakfast (included). We toasted to our last day in New Mexico while rocking in custom made rockers in the lovely manicured garden with a central fountain. Having visited their rooftop bar, The Apothecary, for a daytime view of the mountains, we just had to have a nightcap and a glimpse of the city view.

Santa Fe

Nestled in the rugged foothills of the Sangre Christo Mountains, travelers have long been  attracted to Santa Fe for its mystical energy and health focus. Not sure I completely understood, I was told by friends to “allow the environment to introduce itself by exploring its space.”

Explore we did and I began to recognize and appreciate the peaceful vibe. Even though the streets were crowded, there was this ever-present feeling of tranquility. Everyone seemed laid back and there no loud sounds trying to grab your attention.

Since a few of us were traveling together, an Airbnb was the perfect choice. It’s fun to breakfast and cocktail together each day, while still having your own space. A bottle of wine was there to greet us when we entered Casa Nona’s Two Casitas and we were immediately charmed by the Southwestern style furniture, heated floors and Kiva fireplace. 

Thanks to the audio tour, included in the ticket price (don’t forget your earbuds!), the Georgia O’Keefe Museum came alive and helped us to understand this iconic modernist artist. This quote of hers seemed to sum it all up – “I found I could say things with flowers and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way…things I had no words for.”

A visit to Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return was a must. Described as “a mind bending, interactive, immersive, explorable art experience,” it’s 70 rooms featured hands on art. Picture 100 artists given carte blanche to create their innermost psychedelic dreams in a cavernous space. As we entered through, what looked like a home, we quickly realized the only way to continue was either opening the refrigerator and walking through it or opening the clothes dryer door and sliding down it. Part jungle gym, part haunted house and part children’s museum, we all were enthralled with the level of creativity and downright outlandishness and realized the best way back to reality was via their bar. While the adventurous one in our group opted for a neon colored cocktail topped with cotton candy, the rest of us were content with a cold beer. 

Photo Santa Fe 2

We all agreed that dinner at Luminaria at the Inn and Spa at Loretta stood out as outstanding. We’re not sure what impressed us most: the adobe architecture, the famed Angus beef filet, the Heritage Duroc pork, or the purple potatoes. 

At $1300 per night, The Bishops Lodge is a soulful retreat on 317 secluded acres that border the Santa Fe National Forest and is the winner of the National Geographic Legacy Award. We brunched at their restaurant, Skyfire, which allowed us to tour the grounds, get a feel for the pueblo style resort/ranch’s ambiance and have a taste of their excellent roasted shrimp and grits with smoked pork belly.

On the other end of the spectrum, when we read that Dolina Bakery & Cafe, a small rather non-descript looking restaurant serving Eastern European food, was named one of the top restaurants, we had no choice but to give it a try. The chicken and waffles left us wondering how we could fit in another visit before we even left. 

Shopping the historic Santa Fe Plaza, we stopped in every shop and gallery until we each found just the right souvenir to bring home as a reminder of this very special city. 

Taos

Though a few extra miles drive, we chose to take the High Road, the 56-mile scenic winding road through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Passing desert, mountains, forests and tiny pueblos, our first stop was El Santuario in Chimayo. Known as the “Lourdes of America,” three hundred thousand people make the pilgrimage here each year to dig up some of the sacred dirt, which, much like the water at Lourdes, is said to grant miracles. 

The Greater World Earthship Biotecture Community peaked our curiosity and we had to see it for ourselves. Back in the 1970s, architect Mike Reynolds purchased a sprawling 600-acre mesa and began creating homes that were entirely off the grid. Utilizing solar and wind power, these “earthships” were intentionally constructed out of recycled, reused and reclaimed materials. Rather than appearing to be space or hippy like dwellings, the homes had a surprisingly stylish look to them and a video of their interiors was rather impressive. Our only regret was that we realized too late we could have booked an overnight stay in one; next time!

Rather than book one of the resorts that offer a body-mind-spirit experience, due to our short visit, we opted to stay in town at the Hotel Don Fernando de Taos. Once again, a charming Southwest lobby gave way to non-descript rooms.

In the lovely little plaza and historic district, we chatted with an artist and purchased one of her watercolors of Chimayo. At the historic Taos Inn, we enjoyed Happy Hour and live music at Doc Martens, AKA “Taos’ living room,” and wondered why we hadn’t arrived in New Mexico sooner.

Photo Santa Fe 3

Ask…and You Just May Receive

Photo Never Hurts to AskI I I can hear it now; the collective gasp from the Millennial population that live in JC’s* swanky building if they ever found out that JC has not had a rent increase since she moved there in 2016!

How, why, you ask? It involves just a five-word mantra that anyone can adopt:” It never hurts to ask!” Sure, you’re putting yourself “out there,” each time you take a chance and ask for something, but think of it as gambling with nothing to lose.

First, let’s concentrate on your demeanor and take a lesson from JC’s playbook. You need to dress for success. Looking your best will boost your confidence. Take a minute to take a deep breath and rationalize that your request is a fair and equitable one.

With a smile on your face and with your head tilted ever so slightly to either the left or right, look directly into the person’s eyes and ask your question. Then- and this is most important- do not say a word. At this point, silence is golden and is a game changer. It will seem like hours and you will want to blurt out a long explanation, but that minute or two will usually turn the awkward silence into a win for you.

This can also be adapted to phone conversations. Dress for success is still applicable. PJs just don’t give you the same performance level. Try standing up and smiling when you begin to speak and remember to stop talking.

Mr. Wiz,*a shining example of poise and self-assurance, has been preaching this refrain to me since we met. I’ve watched aghast as he negotiated a discount in a department store on a high-ticket item (I didn’t know that was even possible) and with a brief explanation, offered, what I thought to be, an insultingly low bid on our dream condo which was immediately accepted.

Shy at first, I began my training slowly:

  • In the grocery store, I asked if I could switch to an available brand of soup and still receive the sale price; it worked!

  • Now with a spring in my step, I walked into Dunkin’ Donuts and said since the gift card I had purchased for my boss had not been validated, I embarrassingly had to retrieve it and return to the store. The least they could do was treat Mr. Wiz and me to a complimentary breakfast. Five minutes later, we were enjoying their ham, egg and cheese sandwiches.

  • It was time to conquer the ultimate challenge. After some yoga deep breathing, I gathered myself together and called my credit card company. The concierge that had booked our high-speed train tickets had neglected to email the tickets to me at our hotel. We had no choice, but to go to the train station and pick them up, resulting in us missing out on a whole day of sightseeing. I felt we were justified to receive the expensive European train tickets at no charge; they agreed.

Practice makes perfect. With a little fortitude and a lot of moxie, you can change the course of your life, one simple question at a time. It never hurts to ask!

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

Author’s Note:
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Ready, Set, Unmask?!

Image

I wasn’t sure if I was ready to reveal myself. Being in disguise all this time, I blamed my late bloomer tendencies for not being one of the first to unveil, much like a bear that cautiously steps out of hibernation into his new surroundings.

But, I can honestly say all it took was a couple of hugs, dinner at a favorite restaurant and the opportunity to dance to win me back and I began to wonder if the past year and a half was all a dream. Once again, I could smile at strangers and watch their countenance change before my eyes. No longer would I have to suppress my hugging tendencies. I could shake your hand and not strain to hear your voice from six feet away. 

Ever the enthusiast of the glass being half full, I began to wonder if my mask was revealing as much as it had concealed. It gave me a newfound respect for my sister and her profession as a nurse. Due to a limited supply of N95 masks, she initially had to travel forty minutes each way to have hers sterilized each morning. With so many unanswered questions about COVID, she undressed at the door each evening and left her work laptop outside. Meditation helped her get through those perilous days and has since become a part of her life.

JC* loved living with millennials in her chic downtown apartment, until they all started working from home, never to be seen in the daylight again. This was not a concept that she was familiar with and it took some explaining. We joked and told her had she been employed March 14, 2020, one day after the city shutdown, she probably would have been fired. Through it all, she remained her usual fun loving, upbeat self and I was so proud of her. Alone during quarantining, she worked on her paint by number art, knitted hats for charity, called friends, researched vacation locations and filled up her bucket list.

I perused my phone’s contact list, stopped to think about each person, and decided to reach out to them. Keeping in touch with my sister weekly on Zoom, the goal to make her laugh, brought her, JC and me even closer. FaceTime with family replaced visits and was never taken for granted. Considering time to be a gift, I had no excuse but to use it wisely. 

Though I’m not exactly sure where we are now (mask or unmask?), I’ll make an effort to try not to take anything for granted again. If I do, I’ll take out my collection of face masks and marvel at how such a small piece of cloth could hide me behind it and change me so significantly. 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

Author’s Note:
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A Pickle, a Ball and Me

Photo Pickleball

Though diminutive in size, this one inch pickle pin is the pride and joy of our neighborhood’s Pickleball community.

“I’m bored, there’s nothing to do.” That whiny lament has been heard by parents everywhere, but back in the summer of 1985, little did three dads know that inventing a game in order to entertain their bored children would create a world phenomenon known as Pickleball.

A cross between badminton, table tennis and tennis, this is how Pickleball originated. The smaller court meant less running and helped to make the game so popular. With 37 countries now members of the International Pickleball Federation, it is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. with over 2 million players.

Was the game named after one of the family dogs? Did one of the wives liken the combination of different sports to the pickle boat in crew where oarsman are chosen from leftovers of other boats? Though accounts of how the name originated differ, it is agreed no actual pickles are involved in the playing of the game.

It’s safe to say there will be no golden pickles in my future. According to the official Pickleball dictionary, this is when you win a game on your first serve, never giving the opposing team the chance to serve.

Unfortunately, my clumsiness prevents me from participating. I don’t say that to hear I should just give it a try or with practice, I could become a good player. I know my limitations and awkwardness is just something that has always accompanied me through life.

Years ago when I first met my new boss, who happened to be Mr. Wiz,* I tripped over my own feet as we strolled down New York City’s Fifth Avenue. As I lay there on my stomach in my new suit and matching heels, a crowd formed around us as he helped me up. I tried to brush it off as I brushed myself off, quickly cleaning the blood off my knees with my saliva and trying to turn the rips in my hose off to one side.

The next day, the rain did not deter us and I was feeling great in my new matching raincoat and hat. I was impressed Mr. Wiz wanted to stop in at one of those ritzy Madison Avenue jewelry stores where ringing the bell lets you in and I felt so elegant as we entered. Then, when I looked down, the water that had gathered on the brim of my hat hit the jewelry case and all the security alarms in the store started to screech. As we were quickly escorted back out to the street by the security guards, all I could think to say was “Lunch?”

Preparing to regally walk down the staircase from my bedroom for a first date and then falling, tripping in my garden and on to all the plants; these are just reminders I’m right when I say I have two left feet.

Luckily, it’s all worked out for me. I focus on what I can do, rather than what I can’t and when I ever do misstep, I know Mr. Wiz is always there with a loving smile and a strong arm to lift me up and remind me it’s not about the trip, but about the journey.

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

Author’s Note:
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Moving to the Rhythm of Nature’s Song

Photo Rhythm Natures Song

“Are you OK?” My neighbor noticed me lying on my stomach with my hands under my chin, staring at a plant in my garden that looked as though it had seen better days. After I answered all was well, I realized I might have been in the same position longer than I had thought.

“Black thumb” gardener that I am, (the result of city condo living for 25 years), I was disturbed to see some of our plants were not responding to the Texas sun after our major frost. I thought I noticed something green measuring half the size of my pinkie nail on one of the crispy dark gray branches that was once a beautiful full bush with bright orange flowers. Having originally thought it a weed, I was delighted to see it was the tiniest of buds, after all!

If only we all could be as resilient as plants. What Mother Nature teaches her flock is how to come back even stronger. How must a small seed feel, knowing it must prepare itself to push up through all the black, dense dirt in order to thrive? Or, how about a tree whose branches are so strongly bent? Unaware of its peculiarity and against all odds, it just keeps growing.

Watching some ants march past me, I was fascinated at their teamwork and organization. Persistence counteracts any obstacles and goals are met. Instead of those fancy employee team building exercises, companies should bring their staff outside, lie on their stomachs next to me, and document their tiny compadres’ remarkable achievements.

Deep in thought, I realize I am being serenaded, once again, by Enrico Caruso. Having named this tiny bird with the melodious voice after one of the most famous Italian opera singers, I look forward to his daily recitals. He stands majestically on my neighbor’s roof and sings his heart out, never letting his size impact his stature.

Brushing myself off, I stand up ready to continue the day with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. When I take the time to pay attention to what nature has to reveal, she never ceases to amaze me.

Come forth into the light of things,
let nature be your teacher

William Wordsworth

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Always the Student

Photo Always the Student

“It does not take much strength to do things, 
but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what do to”
Elbert Hubbard

First, there’s the line drawn down the center of a piece of paper, noting pros and cons. Then, there’s some research to be done on the subject. Next, I like to get the opinion of others. Young, old, eccentric, intellectual; their views all get mixed into that big black cauldron in my head. If I’m very quiet, I can begin to stir it up and sense what suggestions will start to rise to the top. Asking for advice and being open to criticism and suggestion takes practice. 

Really listening without speaking is even more difficult. Lately, I’ve decided to take advantage of the forced tranquil lifestyle that’s been dealt us all and concentrate on what I can learn from everyone that I’ve come into contact with. Here’s what I’ve found:

  • How an older gentleman reminded me that in the sink or swim restaurant business, his little catfish restaurant (now 42 years old) has endured, due in part to his motto “We do the best we can with what we’ve got.”
  • How 12 women exchanged their weekly lunch outings for brown bags and started using that money to support local charities in my town. Now 250 strong, this powerhouse of a women’s club has donated their time, talents and over $85,000 just last year. 
  • How one young man’s homage to his favorite uncle, who died too soon, sweetly lived on when he sported a bolo tie on a dating app photo and it caught the eye of a lovely young woman whose grandfather was also a fan of the style. To his surprise, on their first date, she sported her favorite bolo tie and the rest was history.
  • How the tides can change when a young man with a simple love of the ocean became an oceanographer and at 84 years of age wrote his first book, enlightening readers as to how tides and currents actually changed the course of history during historic wars. His first book has since been awarded the gold medal by the Military Writers Society of America.
  • How living in a home that is open to the public 365 days a year is not as glamourous as you might think. “Keep your memory short and your skin thick;” this shared from a Duchess who runs a 300-year old castle on 160 acres in England. On her first day, the then young bride, from a farm village who married into aristocracy, was “welcomed” by the staff when she heard them whispering “Have we broken her yet?” 
  • And, last but never least, how JC*, who never ceases to amaze me with her ageless sense of wonder, spunk and positive attitude, has powered through this last year. Whether she’s painting, knitting hats for charity (she was grateful to have one to wear when her power went out recently), playing Rummikub against herself for practice, reading or researching where our first post- COVID family vacation should be, she is the inspiration that reminds me how important it is to have a teachable spirit. 

If, at times, I can scramble out of my comfort zone, with humbleness and modesty at my side, helping me along the way; if I can walk with my arms open and let them be the antennae that captures all of life’s prospects, then I’ll be content to always be the student. 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

Author’s Note:
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Who Was That Masked Man?

Photo Masked Man

The next time you are fussing about wearing a mask, think about Clayton Moore. Starting in 1949 and, until his death in 1999, he wore a mask (over his eyes, not his mouth and nose, but still?!) while portraying the character The Lone Ranger. 

Initially starring on the television series of the same name, he later became the Lone Ranger full time, making nationwide public appearances. Ironically, wearing that mask to conceal his identity made him one of the most recognizable characters in the world. 

As the fictional story goes, he was the sole survivor of an ambush on Texas Rangers. Nursed back to health by Tonto, an Indian who became his loyal companion, they roamed the Old West together, aiding those in need and fighting outlaws while in search of Butch Cavendish, known to be the leader of the ambush. 

Why did The Lone Ranger call his Indian companion “Tonto,” Spanish for “fool?” In return, did Tonto call him “Que no sabe,” Spanish for “(the one) who doesn’t know” or “Kemosabe,” thought to mean “friend” in Tonto’s native Potawatomi language? And speaking of the Potawatomi, how did they manage a $390 million expansion project in order to build a successful casino and hotel in what was once a desolate area in Milwaukee, Wisconsin? This is what you think about when you have a little more time on your hands. 

Come to think of it, I may have more in common with Clayton than I thought. We both understand how hiding your identity behind a mask can make you feel more introspective.

As The Lone Ranger spoke those famous words “Hi ho, Silver, away!” he’d urge his horse to rear up on his hind legs and dramatically descend into a fast gallop, not dwelling on the past, but heading to new adventures. I think I’ll keep that in my saddle bag the next time I need a reminder to unmask my fun loving side. 

Author’s note:
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Curls in Crisis

Photo Curls Crisis

They were cut down into submission for years, never expecting that their time would come again. But, these asymmetrical follicles that tend to make hair curl as it grows, patiently awaited their comeback and what a comeback it was!

This year, a lack of a haircut on my regularly scheduled date continued on for months. Neither hairbrush nor comb could subdue the rampage of ringlets that little by little began to appear all over my head. I likened their appearance on the scene to a field of battle, as they helped each other to unfurl and together rose to independence. 

A blow dryer was no match for these stubborn spirals and soon I realized that letting them dry naturally was the only option. Problem was, there was strength in numbers and I had absolutely no control as to what direction or how they would style themselves each day. 

Thinking myself very clever, I decided that rather than fight them, I would give in and let them part and twist as they wished. But, just as I was getting used to that look, without any warning they rebelled and chose another direction in which to coil. One day, I actually thought I heard them giggling. 

Mornings have been especially difficult. Opening my eyes and seeing Mr. Wiz* smile and say good morning, I contentedly begin my day until I catch my reflection in a mirror and gasp. I look like the child of Margaret Thatcher (as she appeared in the latest episode of “The Crown”) and Don King, the boxing promoter known for his “tall hair.” Each day, I wonder how Mr. Wiz cannot see this; is it true love or does he not have his glasses on yet?

Out of desperation, I subtly introduced my unruly tresses to the bandanna. Folding and twisting it first, I slowly and gently maneuvered it behind my ears and then pushed the front of my hair back and quickly tied it. Surprisingly, they snuggled in and around it. All was well until I took it off and they reverted into rebellion again. 

To the outside, straight haired world, curly hair signifies freedom, strength and independence. I have come to the conclusion that my hair and I just don’t agree. I feel as if I have the wrong head on my body. If you’ve ever switched heads on your dolls, you know just what I mean (though switching Ken and Barbie’s heads did totally confuse my then 5-year old brother for a year or so). 

While my head says I am methodical, my hair says I’m wild and free. As much as I’d like to run in slow motion, shaking my head as my hair defiantly struts its stuff, the real me remembers back to the day when I’d blow dry my short hair quickly in the morning and it would obediently remain in place all day. 

Don’t tell them, but I am considering cutting off my curls. I might keep some in a zip-close bag where, much like a wild animal in a cage, they will behave and can be admired from afar. Who knows? Maybe on special occasions I might glue a couple of curls to my forehead and just for the day, pretend I am actually the girl with the devil may care hair.

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

Author’s Note:
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