Poem: My Grandfather’s Wig

By: Richard Luftig

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I was about six when Grandpa
stopped by on his way home
from work. He smiled at me, said:
You’ll never guess what I have under my hat.
He doffed his fedora and I saw
his hair, brown, thick and full and tinged
with red. But how? Long
as I could remember, what little
he had he always called snow on the chimney.

Jesus, my father said,
What have you done?

Got myself a wig, You blind or something?
I looked over at my mother,
but she was washing dishes, her back to us,
and for some reason I didn’t understand,
her shoulders were shaking up and down.

I saw it on television, while watching
Lawrence Welk. That Myron Floren guy
had one and it looked pretty good on him.
So, I ordered one from the Montgomery Ward
Catalogue. Going to surprise your mother with it.

My father shook his head.
Haven’t you learned; anything looks good
on a 9-inch black & white TV.
If you had been watching Davy Crockett
would you have bought a coonskin cap?
It would pretty much look like what you’re wearing now.

Even at six, I could see that Grandpa’s feelings
were hurt. Think what you like but your mother
is going to think I’m thirty years younger
and sexy as all get-out. You better call first
before you all come over next Sunday
for dinner. We might still be in bed.

Years later, I found out why that next
Sunday dinner went so badly, everybody
mad about something. Grandma, evidently
not as enthusiastic as Grandpa
had hoped, and gave him hell toupee.

 

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