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Hair Today - Memories Tomorrow

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"Can't live without them!", that's what my mother always used to say about curling irons. "Liz, we're just cursed, you know," she'd always say, "because our hair is not gorgeous or straight and it also is not curly enough to keep anything more than a lackluster limp spring at best."

It's funny the things you remember after someone is gone. I always thought my mom would be there for all of the important events in my life, but in three short months after a diagnosis of cancer, she was gone. Thinking of all the times we didn't get to share makes me sad, so when I remember my mom I always try to think of the great times we did get to have together while she was still around.

Thinking of her hair advice always brings a smile to my face, so it is something I think of often. Having five sisters there were plenty of hair-raising tales growing up. I'll never forget the time when we went to Camp Minnetonka for girl's weekend. Each time I think of that wild and crazy weekend, the first of many, I feel like I am transported back in time.

"Mom, mom, we're almost there!" I say as an anxious 16-year old.

"I know dear. We will be there in about five minutes."

Mom always knows our estimated time of arrival. She should know since she's been bringing my older sisters: Alice who is 35 years old, Agnes who is 33 years old, Jane who is 26 years old, Linda who is 21 years old, and Mary who is 18 years old. Together they had been coming up for this once-a-year weekend with mom since they each turned 16. It was a right of passage, you could say. This was to be my first year to get to tag along, having celebrated my 16th birthday just one short month ago. I can't help but be excited as we near our destination.

"Liz, calm down! We're just going to stay in cabins for the weekend, not going to see rock stars. Sheesh!" says Alice exasperatingly.

That's Alice for you; the oldest and always the first to bring you back down to earth.

"Oh Alice, leave the poor kid alone." chimes in Ag, "She's excited and has every right to be. It's her first time up here. You're not too old to remember your first time up here, are you? So, just cut Liz some slack." God, I love Agnes. We may be 17 years apart in age, but we get along famously. She's always been there for me when I needed her. She just seems to intuitively know when to step in on my behalf. I hope I grow up to be like her some day.

"Thank goodness we're almost there," Mary says as she squirms in her seat, "I have to pee really bad."

When doesn't she have to pee? Every time there's work to be done, Mary can be counted on to skitter into any nearby restroom, thereby alleviating her of any chore needing to be done. That's the way it'd been most of my childhood, but it took me until adulthood to realize this manipulation technique. Quite clever of Mary, don't you think? Now, I bet, it was a tactic to get out of taking care of the luggage when we arrived. She'd rush off to the restrooms and not saunter back until the last piece of baggage had been unloaded and put away inside the cabin.

"Boy, is it humid out or what?" Linda steamily says.

Poor Linda, the only one of us to be blessed with more than just a limp lackluster curl or two, and always having her hair end up plastered to the nape of her neck with the heat. Her flaming red hair with all of its natural curl ends up looking more like a long Afro than anything with any sort of style. The biggest problem for her was that her hair appeared much shorter than it really was because it had all those tightly wound curls.

"Linda, you really need to find a way to put your hair up, at least in the back," Jane chorused in, "that's why it's so hot for you now."

Jane, Jane, Jane. A gorgeous, chiseled square jaw line, perfect body, long flowing hair, and a great smile to boot. Men didn't stand a chance once she flashed them a smile. What I wouldn't give to be her for a day! What a life she must lead.

With that, we arrived at our destination, Camp Minnetonka. Out we all clamored with Mary quickly departing for the restrooms and the rest of us unloading and bringing the bags to our cabin. When all the unloading was done and we were settled in our cabin it was time for the fun to begin. As family tradition would have it we set about getting our first dinner prepared and moved the furniture around so that we could have our sessions after dinner.

Dinner was scrumptious, homemade baked beans, Caesar salad, fresh sliced fruit, and burgers on the grill. Agnes was quite handy with the portable grill we'd brought along. The rest of us cut fruit and prepared the salad while Mom went about cooking up her famous baked beans. Our cabin wouldn't qualify as a five-star hotel by any means, but it was fully furnished and quite homey too. Everyone was satisfied and stuffed as we rolled ourselves over to the living room for the evening's entertainment - our sessions - hair experimenting sessions, that is.

The older siblings began by pouring themselves a glass of wine, while the rest had some fresh-squeezed lemonade. From what I'd heard, the evenings became more hilarious the older you got. I think the alcohol had something to do with that, but I'd have to wait years to find that out. For now, we took our appointed seats in our makeshift assembly line. It actually looked more like a bunch of train cars parked one after the other; ready to leave the station at a moment's notice. We had preheated curling irons, curling brushes, and a flat iron before we began dinner. Our vast array of hair care products covered the coffee table. By evenings end, every bottle would be tried and every curling wand would be tested.

The evening began with Mom working on Linda's hair, because her hair was the toughest in the bunch. So we sat from front to back: Linda, Mom, Mary, Alice, Liz, Agnes, and Jane. Things started calmly enough with each person taking a heated appliance to begin straightening or curling another's hair. In between each section of hair being primped, came a swig of wine for Mom and the oldest 4 sisters. As the wine bottles were opened one by one, the hairstyles became wilder and the hair stylists burst into giggles at nearly everything that happened. No one could look at their own hairstyle until its completion, so the constant chortling could either make you burst into laughter at what



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