Mom had short hair.
In fact, most of the women I knew had short hair.
I was four. I didn’t know that many women.
But those I did . . .
Even Gramma Berg had short hair. Short, white hair.
But that just shows you what I knew . . .
We were staying with Gramma for a few days.
It was magic.
The great staircase to climb.
Table to scurry under.
Heater grate in the floor to sit on.
Stuffed moose head to run from.
Feather ticks to cuddle under.
Hidden, secret places to . . . hide in.
Exciting attics to get barred from. (Stupid brothers.)
And a whole world of farm and gardens to explore.
And, best of all, Gramma.
She of the marvelous old-world cooking. The loving cuddly arms.
And the Swedish pronunciation of ‘Di-ane’.
It was like a week in Heaven.
I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with short hair.
That part’s coming now . . .
I was playing with my cousins.
Some game involving daring each other to go all the way to the bottom of the scary basement stairs.
I wandered into the kitchen.
And there was my Gramma, sitting on a chair, with my Mom standing behind her.
And mom was . . . brushing Gramma’s hair.
Hair that streamed in a silver wave over Gramma’s shoulders and down Gramma’s back.
I stared at it.
Wait a minute. Where did that come from?
It wasn't there before.
My four-year-old brain was working frantically.
Is this a trick?!
I walked over and touched it. Huh. It seemed pretty real to me.
I stroked my hand down. Mmm. Smooth and pretty.
Where had she gotten it? And even more important, where had she been keeping it?
I watched as my Mom began to braid it.
A long braid.
Which she then wrapped around the crown of Gramma’s head.
Oh. How had I missed that?
You know what?
Adults are tricky.
You gotta watch them at every step.
Today, the hair.
Tomorrow, the world.