Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Monday Mimisms ~ The Cherokee Girl

*Reprised from 2010* 

I am slightly north of fifty.

Most days I like my place on the chronological globe. Some days I want to string it up from the highest rafter and kick the bucket of wrinkle remover off the highest cliff and call it a day.
Today was a bucket kicker of a day.

I took my 6-year-old grandson shopping through the neighborhood yard sale boutiques. He had a pocket full of money (mine) a skip jump and a heartbeat of joy (mine) and most everything else in his wiry little body that you can count on in this world that means a blessed thing. And he’s mine.
Wrapped around my sinew and bone like a web-spun intricate cobweb of blissful peace.
He is.

My hands have a few wrinkles.
I know they weren’t there yesterday.
And my eyes look tired. Must be the heat, I tell myself.
It’s because I’m past-midlife-never-mind.

And then I went home and got properly stuck on the age thing.
And why some days I look like hell
and some days I look like twelve
and how today I feel just like the Cherokee girl my grandmother was

I tried to wash my freckles away in the morning dew when I was 8 years old because she said they would disappear. Lo and behold, at 53, I am still trying to cover those blasted freckles and make my smile stop being crooked like hers and my nose wrinkling up oh.so.adolescent.like when I really really smile.

For years I fought it. I wanted it to shift into Hollywood styled sophisticated perfection. I wanted to pout like Garbo, sizzle like Marilyn, slink like Ginger. I did not want to effude giggles like a pigtailed Mary Ann. (Oh, I do alright in the catwalk department on a good ole’ day you see…..but it’s days like today …..when the sun is long and my freckles come callin’ that I see…I see…..(“I brought my grandson today, ma’am. His name is Baby Boy”) a wisp of her staring cold in the mirror and laughing cause she still sees the marks behind whatever makeup I put on (“Grandson? He’s not your son?”)……knowing full well I can‘t wash them off with the dew (“No, no,” I laugh, “my own baby is 30.”…) even though that’s what my greatly superstitioned grandmother told me (“That’s about what I thought you were.”) while she watched me wash my face with dewdrops one morning at 5am in the backyard trying to scrub them away….(“Oh DO go on, ma’am…I will buy everything you have in your garage today…“)

Whoever heard of a movie star with freckles?

I can't have both.
Can I?

So I came home flailing all my will into a long dramatic selfish pout, casting winks and coy glances hither and yon for the birds and the squirrels and trees, splashing on makeup and dropping pearls round the long strands of auburn that also belonged to the glorified goddess of an Indian-laced grandmother and took this shot and that and that shot and this trying to see what the yard sale lady said she saw in the shadow of my grandson‘s smile this morning…...oh I was bound and determined to have a dandy of a roll in the whine fields if I couldn't coax that number down and have a long satisfying look in the yard sale lady's mirror...... I desperately needed those years to wash away you see and since it was not morning, but a sun-washed afternoon in my fifty-third year I felt time turning pages in the solstice of a day that I knew I was meant all along to land in with my grandmother laughing all wrinkled and joyful behind that willow tree looking at me flirt shamelessly with wildlife and memories......wondering how did I get here so fast in a spot where spots are signs of age and not of youth with no stopwatch to slow them down... down.... down....
Until finally I saw something in the lens I’d never seen before.
Something steadfast.
Something strong.
Something …..

a streak of stubborn
A chiseled chin
A bold lined woman
Who never takes no for an answer
and knows exactly where she's been

One random streak of grey
And freckles
Not in the dew
But in the new

And then
I had an epiphany

About perfection
And the lack of it
In me
And imperfections
And strength
in the middle of
imperfect things
that I no longer want to wash away

My grandmother's gift of stubbornness and grit might have been borne on the backs of those unsophisticated marks, but she knew what she was doing when she passed them on to me.
She knew I would need them
there's some kind of magic in dew

*NOTE 2023: Baby Boy is now in college studying Computer Science. 
I am north of sixty. Still wearing dangling feathers and feeling ever so much more like a Cherokee girl inside and out. Grandmother had wisdom that has served me well. This morning I found a white feather on my walk at precisely 11:11. Thank you, Grandmother...I miss you too.

photos: Mimi Lenox
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peppylady (Dora) said...

I like your post over on Facebook. They're is something to me a blogs. It been a while since I been to any yard sale.
I hope you found to stop over to my blog for a cup of coffee.

Mimi Lenox said...

Good to see you, Dora. I did stop by your blog for a cup of coffee. It was delicious! Thanks for the book banning update. This world has become so sad.

P.S. I love yard sales.

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