Crowning Glory…



To Southern women, our hair is our Crowning Glory…So, it’s a big decision whenever we start to go grey…for redheads or blondes, the decision is not so dramatic- it’s just silver threads among the gold or copper! For brunettes, it can be quite traumatic. Take me for instance…from childhood, my hair was as close to black as you could get and my eyes are this weird shade of green- very light, sort of chartreuse or lizard green…My great aunt Trix- exclaimed regularly…‘Isn’t she unusual?‘ and I never ever thought she meant that in a good way.

When the grey hairs started coming in more regularly than I thought was necessary…a decision had to be made.  Dark hair and dark eyes are a better aging combo than dark hair and light eyeswe start looking washed out. And who wants to look washed out?  That’s tantamount to looking washed up. In the South- looking washed out is almost as scary as that Ptomaine Poisoning our mothers were always telling us we would get if we ate at uninspected places. First, I followed my grandmother’s ancient advice- ‘If you look bad, get a permanent wave.’ I guess I thought if the grey hairs were coiled up tight with the others they wouldn’t be so noticeable- not true.

So amid the unsolicited advice- ‘Get that hair dyed’…and solicited advice from my beauty operator- ‘let’s put a few streaks in it’; I began the transition. I went lighter, had a few streaks put in, I looked like a blonde polecat. Back to the bottle again. When my book was published I was in the frame of mind to look as young as I could. I told the hairdresser to just do it a little lighter than my natural color which was dark brown. Dyed dark brown hair color was a pure vanity decision for the book cover.  Soon, reality sank in, I was dealing with roots. Now, Southerners have an unnatural fascination with our ancestors- our roots…however roots near your scalp isn’t pretty. We may want to know who your people are, but we don’t care whether your string of pearls is real or cultured; nor whether your hair is natural or dyed. The main thing is, Southern girls want to be cultured and real pretty, especially when it comes to our Crowning Glory.

Next- I had a semi-permanent wrench put on it, and I sat for hours with R2D2 foil squares, the pole cat look returned. I started looking in magazines and online, a good many famous people- namely movie stars of a certain age…were going naturally grey. Emmie Lou Harris, Linda Evans, Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Mirren, Anderson Cooper, Diane Keaton, Ali MacGraw and who can forget Meryl Streep’s silver locks?

Of course we all know that men get ‘distinguished looking’ with grey hair- I don’t hear those same sentiments about women’s grey hair. To my surprise, there were articles written about ‘grey being the new black’ with stunning examples.

Then, a blogger I truly admire- Vicki Archer, of French Essence-beautifully let her readers know of her decision to go grey. Something clicked when I read her article. I too, was going to go grey. Now, I certainly didn’t want folks to say- ‘well, she’s really let herself go’ or ‘bless her heart she sure has aged’ or ‘she needs to dye that hair’…after all a woman’s hair is her Crowning Glory- it’s biblical. Following the hairdresser’s suggestions, she warned me it would take a long time, I said I was prepared or thought I was. imageA local magazine called and wanted to do a story on my book- I could hardly have a photograph done with ‘roots’ showing! I listened to the ancient voices in my head…‘Once a woman gets a certain age- she can’t wear long stringy hair’…I had a semi-permanent wrench put on and as you can see, I had my hair cut it as short as possible! After over two years…I am finally natural again, I also decided that I missed my hair having a little length to it. When I started blogging the advice was to use a professional photograph, the book cover photograph was the only one I had…but really Darlin’ I need to update-morton tims event 1 004

It’s not a professional photograph and who knows if I will ever figure out how to change it across all media- but I’m going for ‘truth in advertising’.  And I’m gon’ try to keep some color on my face, lipstick on my lips and remember that a smile is the best face-lift. I may be too old to successfully flirt, but can always flatter. I know I’ll never get tired of hearing or telling funny stories. The pearls might not always be real, but you can never have too much culture. No matter what color it is or how it got that way-A woman’s hair truly is her Crowning Glory. For me- Salt and Pepper is the Spice of Life!

Love y’all, Camellia

The Beholder’s Eye…

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’imageI noticed when I was weeding the front beds today, that when I was yanking whole wads of them out, it felt more like being mad. When I eased the weeds out carefully I was more aware, slowin’ down does that! Weeding is a constant in gardening. By slowing down a bit, I had an odd sensation- something very akin to gratitude for the weeds, what?!? Yes you read that right! Weeds are place keepers in the soil to stall erosion, otherwise every downpour would muddy up the drainage ditches! These very place keepers caught my eye, before I pulled out those spiky things at the base of the irises a faint waft of garlic rose. I realized they were garlic chives! Probably a carryover from when I divided the irises! Garlic chives are not easy to find in garden centers, in fact they are highly prized herbs. Chopped and added to softened butter,  garlic chives add something nothing else can- to bread, a baked potato, a crisp cracker or even melted over warm shrimp. I was delighted to find them since the other patch I have has almost played out. But they don’t look right where they are and it’s not time to dig iris tubers so they’re staying where they are! The beauty of garlic chives is in the Beholder’s Eye. Weeds may be ‘fine plants’ waiting to be discovered. Take a look at the Oxalis below-imageAn old gardener complained to me once, ‘I can’t ever get rid of that old Oxalis, its everywhere!’ I know he yanked out, rooted up every one he ever found, they were the bane of his existence in his garden! Years later I was working at a fine garden center, around St. Patrick’s Day potted up just as pretty as could be, were blooming Shamrocks! The common weed was elevated to a fine gift plant! And imagine my surprise, while working there, to find the bane of my lawn, Ajubaweed, was sold as a groundcover! It’s the Rule of the Beholder’s Eye. Right about now in my area, the daffodils have finished blooming but…the foliage is all flopped over; don’t just run a mower over them or weed-eat them all up. No, no, no, I’m going to show you a ‘love knot’ for the floppy foliage- imageDaffodils need the food in the foliage to come back strong next year! It doesn’t take long…just tie the long stems into knots and they will look tidied up! The ‘Moral of the Beholder’s Eye’ is this- how we view everything whether plants, events or people determines their value, their worth. There is no truer saying than ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. The greatest lessons can be learned on bended knees  in a garden! So, put on your Beholder’s Eyeglasses and tell me what you find!

Love y’all, Camellia