The Old Gray Mare ain’t so gray anymore

I grew up bombarded by country music. If it wasn’t straight from a honkeytonk or the Opry stage, it was strictly taboo in my household. Often times it was quite difficult to sing along with the other children waiting outside the Jazzercise room, but at least I had the distinct opportunity to know a full collection of cheating and drinking songs by the time I was five. I also got to know Dolly Parton.
Even though she wasn’t a family favorite, I learned her music here and there and laughed with the rest at the size of her colossal chest and counterfeit curls. There were jokes about mountains I never really understood, but I chuckled anyway at the expense of this famous and beautiful country singer.
Years passed, and late one night not that long ago while watching a talk show, I saw an interview with Dolly. She was promoting a new album and was dressed to the Dolly nines, complete with tight jeans and a bright pink jacket that had to really work to cover all that it was supposed to.
In the interview, she laughed and threw back her head and was the most charming and down to earth “star” I had ever seen. Beyond that, she was honest. When asked if she had work done on her face and figure, she definitively answered “well, of course!” Continuing on she said something to the likes that she was fighting aging because she could, and why wouldn’t you? This confirms one of her famous quotes, “If I see something saggin’, baggin’ or draggin’, I’m gonna have it nipped, tucked or sucked.”
Not that I’m ready to go under the knife, but I kept her little nugget of philosophy tucked away right next to my Grandmother’s words. She always says “take care of yourself because you’ll feel better and have a better day.” I should mention that a few years ago at the age of 80, my Grandma went to a Halloween party dressed as Dolly Parton. Coincidence? I think not. Smart and good looking women? Absolutely.
All of this information and opinions really start spinning in your head when you’re nearing a birthday, as I am currently doing. The fact that my daughter and I have birthdays just a few days apart is both beautiful and painful; to watch her grow taller and change into a lovely young women, and to watch my eyes grow little wrinkles and my hair change to gray.
However, the work and unnaturalness that comes with covering up your age doesn’t really appeal to me. I think it’s mostly because I can’t sit still for more than ten minutes to get my nails done or my hair colored, but I have honestly spent the majority of my life happy being exactly as I was intended to be.
But not on a birthday week.
I’m taking a stand against the calendar this year, bound and determined to have someone say that they really can’t believe I’m as old as I am, a goal in vanity for which all women strive. I have gone to extreme lengths as far as my own habits are concerned, actually exercising (blech) and taking the plunge with some semi-permanent hair dye.
There I stood in the pharmacy aisle, completely overwhelmed with the number of choices. Children running amok, I recruit them to help choose a color. “Ooh, Cinnaberry! Plums! Tea! I’m hungry, mom, can we get something to eat?”
“Of course,” I said, choosing whichever box was closest to me. And we left the store, got in the car and cranked up some of our favorite country songs.
Dolly would be proud.


No, you're HOW OLD????? I don't believe it.
I listened to Dolly on 8-track in my family's dark red station wagon sedan, "Coat of Many Colors"and "Joleen."
I'm getting my hair colored Thursday because I am tired of plucking out stubborn grays with the tweezers.
So be it.

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