Dad and Me
“Grandma, why do you have so many black combs?”
“I just do,” I said in my nicest grandmotherly voice. I made a snap decision to not explain why I had so many combs, so I changed the subject. “I keep them in this junk drawer.”
“What’s a junk drawer?”
“It’s a place where we put things that don’t have anywhere else to go,” I said. That seemed to be a good enough explanation. The little guy was off to explore something else.
When I combed my grandson’s hair earlier that day, I thought about my dad, because it was Dad’s comb I used. Wouldn’t it be great if you could be here, and maybe leave us another comb? You would love this little guy, I thought, as I tidied up the little one’s hair. Several times when my father came over to our house with my mother, when our kids were little, he accidentally left one of his combs. Dad bought them by the bagful. Dad liked to build towers and other such things with the kids, and somehow the combs slipped out of his pocket and onto the floor. I never noticed the combs until after my mom and dad left. I stored them in the junk drawer. It looks like I forgot to give them back to Dad the next time they came for a visit.
Sometimes, even to this day, little black combs show up out of nowhere. The other day, when I was organizing a basket of odds and ends, one appeared. Another time, I noticed one in the street, which made me think of Dad. Seeing it felt like a good sign, but I decided to leave it stay where it was. It looks like I get combs from heaven, instead of pennies.
When the little guy gets bigger, and if he’s still curious about the combs, maybe I can tell him this story. I’ll also let him know that not everything in a junk drawer is junk. A junk drawer can hold something dear to our hearts.
Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor