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David Creel: Gathering and gossiping from Mary Kay to the morgue

 

David Creel

 

Women gather. Well, that''s what my daddy always said and still to this day can be heard mumbling, "Humph, women gather and just gossip ''bout nuthin''."  

 

Supposedly there are women who congregate, and not just in churches, but apparently in beauty shops, on front porches, near the frozen foods on aisle nine at the local grocery store and just about everywhere between. If it''s true then they must be up to something. You think?  

 

It''s funny the things old men say about old women -- storytelling at its best, seasoned with sage wit, verve and a heaping helping of opinions folded into the Southern recipe passed down from old men through the generations to those who will become old men.  

 

Not long ago I was visiting with my nephew, John Doss, when out of the blue came one of Daddy''s extraordinary claims. "That''s a woman for you!" he exclaimed, watching something unidentified on television. Amused, I simply shook my head and squinted my eyes across the room at Daddy. 

 

 

 

Tagging along 

 

I remember as a little boy riding shotgun in my mama''s dark blue Oldsmobile, with her speeding over country hills and around winding curves to her destination. It was usually a Tupperware party, Home Interior party, Mary Kay party or some form of a home party hosted by one of her sisters or the occasional church lady.  

 

I suppose that would be one of those places my daddy swore women gathered, and boy, did they ever! I never saw so many cheese balls, awkwardly delicious bite-sized foods and the pastel-colored punch sweet enough to send anybody into a coma.  

 

Life was good for a 10-year-old in those party days. I stuffed my face full of Martha Washington balls and washed them down with a sherbet libation, while Mama gathered with her friends and Daddy''s American Express card. The smell of perfume wafted through the evening air, and I didn''t have the foggiest notion what Mama and all those other women were talking about in their pencil skirts, high heels and red lipstick that stained plastic punch cups collecting on coffee tables. No idea at all.  

 

Of course, according to Daddy, women also gathered at funerals. Never mind the deceased who obviously was not joining in on the chattering conversations near the silk lily arrangements on plastic stands, it was the place where women gathered.  

 

Each phrase of gossip was interjected with, "Didn''t they do a good job on the hair?" and the occasional, "Bless her heart." But I had the best seat in the house. A kid only 4-feet tall just blends in around women gathering near caskets. Granted the view is nothing to write home about, just dozens of purses dangling from elbows and seas of silk stockings stuffed into black pumps, but I got it all firsthand. I got all the information required to make an informed judgment on almost the entire town.  

 

Women gather and gossip, and I love it. Maybe my daddy was right. The irony is that wherever you find women gathering, somewhere nearby I guarantee you discover old men, either admiring or ridiculing the women, or both.  

 

And as for what the old men do, well, that''s a story for another day.

 

Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at beautifulwithdavid@gmail.com.

 

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