And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. ~1 Peter 5:4
The most vivid memory I have of my maternal grandmother, nicknamed Dizzy because of her oft-flaky behavior, relates to her hairstyle, for it was her crowning glory! No matter the state of her health or the weather conditions, Diz never missed a hair appointment. Each week, she would move swiftly into the beauty shop near our home and spend the next hour being shampooed, teased and shellacked by Deitmar, a slight, excitable German man who exhibited a surprisingly gentle side when tending to my grandma. And despite a hairstyle that was unyielding, even on the most blustery or steamiest of days, Diz would return home from Deitmar’s salon and proceed directly to the upstairs bathroom, where she would apply even more hairspray to her already-immovable coif. And then she’d descend the stairs to the den with a smile, and that coy, lovely smile would brighten the day of each person she’d encounter.
During the winter of my final year in high school, I was looking with eager anticipation toward my drill team’s senior trip. As luck would have it, I would be traveling with dear friends and a crazy dance director or two to the beautiful state of Colorado for a bit of snow skiing. Having never been on such a trip, I was sadly lacking in appropriate ski apparel. But such trappings were a little pricey, so my mom and I searched for some budget-friendly clothing alternatives. A friend shared with us the idea of using Scotchgard on jeans to make them somewhat water-repellent. For best results, we were instructed to generously apply one coat of this product to my jeans each day for a week; in this way, I’d be high and dry once on the slopes. I was conscientious about preparing my jeans for use on this trip and, when the day before our departure arrived, I lavished one last coat of Scotchgard on my denims, then placed the can of Scotchgard in what had become its normal resting place, in the cabinet under the bathroom sink.
The day of my trip was upon us, and Mom took Diz to the hair salon while I tended to some last-minute packing. Mom was scheduled to return by 3pm so we could head toward the airport, located some 30 miles from our home. But, 3pm came and went, and by 3:30pm I was beginning to wonder if Mom had completely forgotten me! Soon after, though, she pulled into the driveway, clearly frustrated. I angrily approached the car, asking Mom why she was so late. She ignored my question and impatiently instructed that I “just get in the car.” I wisely complied. As we drove the many miles to the airport, Mom relaxed and explained to me the reason for her delay:
“I got to Deitmar’s salon,” Mom said, “and he escorted Diz to the shampoo chair.”
After a few minutes of running warm water over my grandma’s hair, Deitmar, usually calm, cool and collected when in the presence of Diz, began to wave his hands violently, yelling in his thick, German accent, “The water is beading up and running off of her head, just like it does on a duck’s back! I cannot get it wet!” And, for the next 30 minutes, Deitmar shampooed and rinsed, then shampooed and rinsed again, until he was finally able to fully soak grandma’s hair through.
Mom was puzzled, as was I. Until, of course, I remembered my trip to the upstairs bathroom earlier in the day. For it was then that I had noticed the can of Scotchgard - the one I’d so carefully placed under the sink the day before - sitting on the bathroom counter! Diz, it seems, had mistaken my Scotchgard for hairspray, and had liberally applied it to her hair while dressing that morning! It was her crowning achievement, as acts of hair go!
My grandma’s hair was always her crowning glory. She did everything she could to ensure her style was unyielding against the elements Mother Nature might direct her way. On the day of what I now term, “The Fluorocarbon Fiasco,” my beloved Dizzy happened onto a method that almost preserved her hairstyle for eternity! In this world, however, not even Scotchgard endures. That’s why a faith in God, one that stands strong against the rigors this world can inflict, is so important. My grandmother had such a faith, and her life was infinitely more peaceful and joy-filled because of it. And now? Well, if I close my eyes, quiet my mind, and think about my grandmother, I can envision her reposing on some billowy cloud in Heaven… hair perfectly arranged, flashing that coy and lovely smile, and waiting. Waiting to be adorned with a crown of glory that, unlike the things of this world, will never fade away!