|One of my great aunts lived to 102 or 3. Aunt Sally, as she was known to everyone, was a tiny, wizened little woman. She was old from the beginning of my memory and I was fascinated by her. When I was little, my grandmother and I would often walk about a mile up the blacktop to visit. She lived in a big old house on a hill that they all said was haunted and I could feel ghostly eyes watching me when Momie and I would walk into it's shadow. I was free to explore the house and yard while Momie and Aunt Sally visited, but there was one bedroom that I never went into after the first time. That room really gave me the unexplainable creeps - a feeling as if someone was standing close behind me and I backed outta there quick! Years later I learned the room had belonged to her only child, a son who had died very young of leukemia.|
But the highlight of those visits came after I was through exploring and had settled in the parlor in front of the fireplace, where Momie and Aunt Sally sat in their rockers, swapping gossip.
You see, Aunt Sally wore her hair in a little bitty bun and that hair was what fascinated me most of all. I would shyly ask if she would please take it down for me and with a kindly smile (I suspect this request amused her greatly) she would oblige.
I can still remember the smell of snuff, the sound of the clock tick-tocking on the mantle and the wood crackling pleasantly in the hearth as I held my breath with anticipation and watched, wide-eyed. With deliberate care, her ancient, knobby fingers would remove the few pins that held the bun in place. Then she would slowly uncoil it and her iron gray tresses would gracefully fall all the way to the floor! I never touched, just looked and stared with absolute wonder. That long, long hair touching the floor was the most beautiful thing in the world to me. I think she enjoyed the ritual as much as I did, for I would ask every time we visited and every time she would comply.
When I think about it now, I realize that her hair was one of the hallmarks of the Indian blood that ran strong in Aunt Sally as in all of my kin on daddy's side....
P. Diane Allen, from FL, entered 2002-10-24