Monday, February 7, 2011

Donating My Hair

I donated my hair last week to Locks of Love, a non profit organization that makes wigs for children who have hair loss due to medical conditions. And though my hair cut has little to do with Hobby Farming, (unless I label it as a shearing blog~ ha!) I wanted to share some interesting events?, coincidences?, what ever you want to call it, call it nothing, call me superstitious but I was touched and I was glad for it.
I hee-hawed around about cutting my hair for almost two weeks. Finally I made up my mind and went for it. While I was sitting in the salon waiting for the stylist to find a ruler and a hair tie, a lady sat down beside me. I had my back to her because the swivel chair was turned. I thought nothing of it until I heard what she was there to have done. Her and her stylist were discussing possibilities with her new hair growth. She was a cancer patient and was there to have her hair styled for the first time after undergoing chemo. Then the lady went on to tell that her last appointment with her chemo doctor was on February 22nd, (my birthday). My superstitious mind was racing. Any doubts I had about donating my hair were gone. The anxiety I was feeling about being handed my 16 inch pony tail soon disappeared and a sincere grin involuntarily spread across my face.

I thought nothing of it again until I went to the post office to mail my hair. I was standing in line behind a little women probably in in her late sixties. There she stood in line, little knitted cap, smile on her face, kicking at the scattered rock salt on the floor of the lobby.
"Where do they get all the salt?" she said suddenly.
"What's that" I asked. I had heard her, but it took me a minute to realize what she was talking about.
"The salt," she continued, motioning towards the floor, "every winter they spread salt. Salt on the roads, salt on the sidewalks, where does it all come from?"
Suddenly I realized I had heard something about Detroit being built on a giant salt mine. I told her this.
She joked that if they kept taking the salt from underneath Detroit, eventually the city would cave in. From here is where the conversation gets really interesting. She started explaining to me that she has visited parts of the world where ancient civilizations have built cities on top of cities, that she's been to Jerusalem and Egypt, and spent years in Europe, in the catacombs of France. She's studied to be a minister in New York City, met amazing people and has been ordained for over 60 years, (there went my guess as to her age.)

Suddenly she was next to go up to the register. I wanted to chase after her, to ask her all sorts of questions. Would it be rude to follow her up to the counter? Yes, I decided it would be. She paid for her postage, gave me a little wave, and off she went.

When I got up to the counter myself. The Post Office worker said to me "That lady you were talking to in line just there, she's one of my best friends."
"Really?" I exclaimed, "How lucky for you, she sounds like such an interesting lady."
"She is," She agreed. Then she went on to tell me how she was over ninety years old, (ha! I was way off) she had been on countless human rights missions, and traveled the world fighting for peace. The worker continued to tell me that she is also active in human rights work, has been shot at, and had a friend die in her arms.
My head was swirling. Here I was all excited about donating my measly pony tail!
Then the lady said something amazing to me. It's probably the best compliment I've ever received. She said, "I've seen you in here before, people gravitate towards you."
Maybe you're reading this thinking "so what?" And maybe it is "so what." Maybe I'm sheltered, and out in the real world people talk like this all the time. But it was new for me, and somehow special.
One of my favorite movies is "You've Got Mail" and one of my favorite quotes from that movies is, "So much of what I see reminds me of something I've read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?" That's what this felt like. What does it mean? I haven't figured that out yet. I'm just really glad I cut my hair.



Anonymous said...

This story gave me some chills. I think it is beautiful what you have done.

My cousin has gone through chemo for her cancer. It is heartbreaking to see her bald when she used to have locks down to her butt that she would braid everyday.

I can only imagine the joy, happiness, and self esteem, you have given someone, by such a simple act of donating your hair.

I think this has everything to do with this blog and hobby farming. To me it means a greater since of community and helping others.


Camille said...

This story made my day, Jennifer! It made me smile thinking about your hair being sent on its journey to make someone else smile. It is a show of your giving nature and confirms that when we give, life gives back :) Your new 'do is beautiful!

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