The Big Comb

Our Neighborhood Co-Op is an interesting and eclectic emporium of healthy foods and unusual baked bread and delicious pizza. I discovered today that they also had a big comb like mother used to have. As mom and I were going it alone after she and my dad divorced…I noticed her big blue comb that she kept on the sink in our only rest room. Mind you the days of two our three rest rooms in your house were light years away from my reality. I had friends who had outdoor toilets with the ever present Sears Catalog. But mom had the indestructible big blue comb that I combed my young hair with each morning before walking to Hillcrest School. The comb had big teeth and I had thick black hair…and they worked well together. Over the subsequent years I have not been witness to the big comb…until today. I was so excited to procure a vintage Big Comb…that I neglected to buy a slice of wonderful and healthy pizza.

We continue to attempt to improve and modernize and streamline…when we really are looking for the joys of our youth. The days when you assumed that you would always have thick hair to comb…and mom’s big blue comb would be at its ever present place on the sink. When I arrived home from school…there was mom with the widest grin on her face and a joy in welcoming my return from the big mean world. I never wondered if mom loved me…I knew it. I had seen her get mad at others and lash out and she was somewhat frightening when she was angry…but when I upset her…she smiled and became silent and reflective and never cross. Mom apologized for not telling me that she loved me or her infrequent hugs…but I was perplexed because I understood that I was her world… She became ill and began loosing blood though her bowels and she was convinced that she had cancer… I called her every day from the pay telephone at the Junior High School and enquired as to her health of the mid-day. I was worried and frightened and afraid of loosing my mom…who loved me so. Later during surgery it was discovered that mom had an obstruction in her colon and not cancer…and Earl and I were both relieved and thankful for the good news. Neve June…a little girl from Mt. Vernon, Illinois…was our light and our reason for getting up in the morning. She never met a person who was down on their luck or who needed a hand or a leg up…that the did not take on as her personal project to help and assist. Neva June taught me the meaning of Christian. Her family seemed to discount her and marginalize her and it made me so angry… I thought that she is more a Christian than the group of those whited sepulchers combined…

Mom smoked Salem Cigarettes… not because she liked to smoke but because every adult that the knew smoked at least a little… She incessantly worried about her and my dad’s divorce and felt that it was all her fault and that she had permanently marred me. She was the most powerful example of courage and fortitude and grace and humility that I ever knew…and she could do no wrong.

So today I bought a Big Comb…and when I comb my hair…I will see Mom…

3 responses

  1. A beautiful tribute to your mom filled with nostalgia. Enjoy the comb!

    1. Thank you, my friend.

  2. Neve June…a little girl from Mt. Vernon, Illinois…was our light and our reason for getting up in the morning. like the little girl Ann, who wanted it to be spelt Ann with an E, who affected or should that be infected everyone life, around her for the better. We have all come across such a person, and they are infectious.

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