A few Fridays a month my daughters and I attend story time at our local library. It’s a brief twenty minute experience that includes a couple of songs, a finger-play, several stories and a craft. But what is really interesting about story time are the people who come.
There’s Shane who brings a bag of Duplos and dumps them on the floor, so he can throw them around while he listens. There are the twin sisters who sit quietly snuggled on their mother’s lap. And there’s soon-to-be three-year old Sophie who tells everyone where to sit and if you are lucky, she’ll hold your hand.
But the one who really intrigues me is Sophie’s grandmother. She’s 71 and looks as if she’s in her fifties. This past Friday we were sitting together working on our Dr. Seuss puppets to commemorate the Seuss fellows birthday when Sophie’s grandmother began to admire my daughter’s long, brown hair. “I want to tell you a story,” she said softly. And then she began.
When Sophie’s grandmother was 9-years old she had long hair – hair so long she could sit on it. Her father had died when she was only twenty-eight months old leaving her mother to care for two young daughters. Over the years her mother had made ends meet by doing bead work and sewing projects for people. But this particular year as Christmas drew close, the family’s resources were quite low. One day her mother sat her young daughter – with hair so long you could sit on it – down on a stool, braided that beautiful long hair and cut it off just behind her ears. When she was done she wrapped that braid in tissue paper and took it to the doll shop in downtown Richmond where she sold it for $58.
“It was premium hair,” said Sophie’s grandmother. “My mother was able to pay the electric bill, buy my sister a coat, a pair of shoes for me, a coat for herself, get 2 Christmas presents for each of us, and a turkey…all with the money she made from my hair.”
Sometimes love requires so much of us. What is love requiring of you today?
Love each other as I have loved you. -John 15:12