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An Ode to the Hair Down There

Stories about my Mamaw.  A repost today, because it is mine and MTM’s 8th wedding anniversary. This series is a gift to my cousin Lori, who only met our Mamaw once that she remembers. Set in the hillbilly hollows of Eastern Kentucky. Part of Lori’s and my collective heritage probably includes DNA from both the Hatfields and McCoys. That’s just how things roll around those parts. To read the series from the beginning, click here.

I have a confession to make. I’m a hairy person. This dreadful situation was particularly upsetting for me as a junior high school girl. Because I was (and still am) white as a sheet, hair really stood out on me, especially my natural chocolate brown color back then. Paper white legs plus inch-long blackish hairs equalled SCARY BOY REPELLANT.

What was worse was that my Mom would not allow me to shave my nasty legs. She was convinced that, once I started shaving them, I was no longer her little girl. If she could just keep me from taking that step into womanhood, all would be well in her world.

Thank Mamaw (her mother) for taking pity on me. She thought I looked like Big Foot and was determined to help me out of my hairy predicament.

Without asking my Mom’s permission, Mamaw took my hand and led me to the bathroom. Dramatically, she announced over her shoulder that she was shaving my legs for me. My Mom shouted, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” and came running from another part of the house.

But my Mamaw was too quick for dear old Mom. She stood there with the bathroom door open until Mom peeled around the corner. With a cackle, she shut it in her face and locked it. She and I were in there alone.

Mamaw didn’t use the shave cream and razor on me, either. Oh no. Instead, she got out her electric model and revved it up with as much noisy gusto as it could muster. She even took it to the door and put it next to the crack at the bottom, just so the sound could filter out to my helpless Mom, who was banging her fists on the door and screaming, “Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Don’t do it!”

Turning back to me with a sparkle in her eye, she ordered me to hoist my leg up on the toilet. While my Mom continued to rage outside, Mamaw and I laughed until tears were streaming down our faces. In the span of a few minutes, she had shorn my legs of all their unsightly dark hair, leaving me clean and boyfriend-worthy for the first time in my pathetic little life. I emerged from the bathroom with my Mamaw, holding the hand of the woman who had made me a woman.

Before she died, Mamaw and I had a final long conversation. One of the last things we ever shared was a laugh about how she defied my Mom and shaved my legs for me. Maybe it’s stupid, but every time I see a razor, I remember her.

And, I laugh.


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