Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Papa and I

In my mind's eye, I can see myself as a five-year old little girl.

I'm sitting on the counter top in my grandparent's bathroom. They had a double vanity, so my grandfather (Papa) has set me in-between the sinks.

It is Sunday morning and we are preparing ourselves to go to Sunday school. I can hear my grandmother (Granny) at the other end of the house clearing away the last of the breakfast dishes. With a quick dart of my tongue, I lick my lips and I can still taste the sweetness of the Morton's frozen donuts that Granny made special for me. The miniature donuts aren't glazed with sugary syrup, in fact, they are rather dry with their cake like texture and their sprinkling of cinnamon sugar, but Granny knows that they are my favorite and so that is what she gets for me. They must be magic because the only place I have ever seen them is at Granny's house. Mama and I look for them every time we go to the grocery store, but we never find them.

Papa has had his shower and is standing at the mirror with his khaki house slacks and his under shirt on. He has already applied the Vitalis hair tonic to the salt and pepper waves atop his head and combed them so they seem to mold to his handsome form.

I don't imagine I have ever seen eyes as crystal blue as my Papa's. Cerulean pools with the certain sparkle a man only gets when he is with his granddaughter. Looking towards me, he notices that I am watching him very closely, studying every action of my Papa as he grooms himself. He winks at me, and smiles as he bends over to reach under the counter.

Rising up, he has in his hands his shaving brush, mug, lather mix and razor. Placing the items on the sink, I watch as he carefully removes the old razor blade from the handle and replaces it with a new one. Sitting that to the side, he turns the hot water on to rinse his shaving brush in and the steam rises from the sink and fogs the mirror. Not very much, but just enough that I can reach over and draw a heart in the middle of it. That earns me another wink and a smile.

Now, Papa begins the tedious job of lathering his brush. He explains that too much water mixed with the soap will only create watery bubbles, and that not enough water will make a chalky like substance that the razor won't glide through. Of course, he makes it just right on his first try, because my Papa can do anything he wants. He is one of the smartest men I know.

Papa applies the lather to one side of his face when he decides that I need to be lathered up as well. I can still feel the coarse bristles that are now somewhat softened by the hot water and soap as they glide down my nose and dot my chubby cheeks. I giggle at him and I'm sure my eyes are like saucers, full of love and adoration for the man standing in front of me.

Very quickly, he drags the razor across the smooth expanse of his jaw line. When he has finished rinsing the brush and razor, he places them in the soap mug and sets them all out to dry on the edge of the sink. Using a washcloth, he wipes the rest of the creamy froth from his face and mine, and then places the rag across the side of the sink.

Now is my favorite part. On Monday's through Saturday's, my grandfather applies Old Spice cologne to his face and neck, but on Sunday's he brings out the good stuff. He points to the collection of tiny glass jars and bottles that are beside my left knee on the counter, and I pick the one that I know he is looking for. Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene. Papa removes the tiny black lid and shakes some of the aromatic liquid onto his hands. He then quickly rubs them together, then over his face and neck. Replacing the lid, then the bottle back to it's rightful place on the counter, he then sweeps me up in his arms and shoos me on down the hall towards my room where Mama is waiting to get me dressed.

After he closes his bedroom door, I pause and breathe deeply through my nose. I smell like my grandfather, and all is right with the world.