My Chinny Chin-Chin

Gray clouds that had hung low in the November sky all day finally rolled away shortly before sunset. The blue sky looked gorgeous. Golden sunshine poured through the living room windows. Its Warm rays lapped across the room’s carpet, sofa and half way up the wall. Sitting on the sofa and blinded by the sun’s sudden brilliance, my husband Arnie folded the newspaper and set it aside.

I walked into the room and commented, “Have you ever noticed how when we have an overcast day, it often clears right before sunset?” The sunlight made Arnie’s black hair and ruddy skin fairly glow, as if he were on stage. Snuggling up next to him on the sofa, I said with admiration, “I love how your eyes look in bright sunshine. Ordinarily, they’re a light brown, but right now they look golden, like tiger eyes.”

Arnie responded, “Right now this tiger is hungry. When will you have supper ready?”

Leaning back on the sun-warmed sofa cushions, I lifted my chin and wailed, “That wasn’t a very romantic thing to say when I just gave you a compliment!”

My husband glanced at me and then leaned in for a closer look. I dropped my chin, but before I could ask what he was looking at, he ordered, “Put your head back again.” Taking a second look, he demanded, “Did you know you have one big, black hair growing out of the underside of your chin?”

Jumping to my feet, I exclaimed, “I’m going to look in the bathroom mirror to see if you’re telling me the truth.” Sure enough, the reflection showed one lonely, black, witches’ hair growing where scars crisscrossed under my chin!

Walking back into the living room, I asked, “Can injured hair follicles go rogue? If the hair on my head was this coarse, my hairdresser would have to use wire cutters to trim my hair!”  

I could only remember having had four significant childhood injuries. Which one left the scars on my chin?

Was it the time I knocked over the fish bowl, causing it to shatter on the floor? No. The spilled water made the linoleum floor slippery and I fell on broken glass which made a deep cut on my left arm. For years, I was convinced one of the goldfish had bitten me.

It wasn’t from the time I fell in the hay mow. My siblings were jumping from rung to rung on a ladder lying on loose hay. I tried to do it too, but miss-judged a step and my foot plunged down into the soft hay under the ladder. My right eye brow made forceful contact with the rung I had been aiming to step on.

Moments later my big sisters led me sobbing out of the barn into the sunlight. Blood streamed down my face making everything look red. My souvenir from that injury is a small scar on my right eyebrow. So far, none of my eyebrow hair around that scar have gone mutant.

The most likely accidents were my infamous swing accident and my head-first dive into the basement. Both happened when I was so small most of the details are lost in the fog of childhood forgetfulness.

In the swing accident, my siblings were playing on the rope swings Daddy had made between two large cottonwood poplar trees. Acting like a typical baby, I toddled right into the path of a swinging big sister. Once again, my siblings led me across the yard to the farmhouse, bleeding and crying.

I have only one memory of my basement accident. The sensation of falling. There had been no handrails on our farmhouse basement stairway. As toddlers do, I leaned against the wall and slowly went down step by step. When the wall ended, I tumbled headfirst.   

The only reason I survived is because my family raised chickens and sold eggs. They kept a table next to the basement stairs where they sorted and boxed eggs. Fortunately, my shoulder hit the table before my head could hit the cement floor.

On an overcast November day recently, I was in my living room when the sky cleared enough for golden evening sunshine to peek in the windows. The warmth and brightness reminded me of my late husband. Smiling, I rubbed the bottom of my chin and resolved to check to see if the hair on my chinny chin-chin needed to be plucked again.


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