“Okay, Momma. Yes, I hear you. Hurry Up! He’ll be here in a minute,” was my sister’s plea. “Pretty is as pretty does,” was a common reply my mother could be heard saying. She said it often. She said it alot. On this particular day my sister was getting ready to go water skiing with her boyfriend and for a time in the 70s my sister insisted her hair be ironed straight. Before every date and before school every morning my mother would dutifully set up the ironing board, my sister’s hair would be laid out and my mother would iron it. Yep, she would iron and she would lecture my sister. It was one of those times my sister would have to listen. My mother had a hot iron in her hand. There was motivation.
Why bother, I always thought. You’re just gonna get it wet. Ah, but I was not a teenage girl in the 70s. I was a teenage boy. By the time I was 13 I was already close to six feet tall. It might not have been so bad if I had had the body to go with it. Even if all my other nerdy friends jumped on the scales with me I might have hit 100 pounds. Nature had chosen me as it’s human bullseye for much of the adolescent misery that we all go through. Some more than others.
My father’s advice was always quick and to the point. “Son, if you let anybody get away with messing with you don’t come home moaning to me about it or I’ll give you something to cry about.” Thanks, Dad. My mother would always tell me to take the high road. ” Turn the other cheek. It takes more strength to be good than to be bad,” she would reason. That’s what she would always say to me, but one time I found out that after a particularly brutal ear flicking encounter I suffered on the school bus, my mother had cut a swath through our community. Lying in her wake had been the school bus driver, the school administrators and the parents of the offending ear flickerer. The lioness had protected her cub. The bullying stopped immediately, but then I was known as the skinny kid whose mom had fought his battles. Molly Ringwald never had an acting gig this good. Pretty In Pink and Sixteen Candles my hind leg.
But, just as the sun sets on each and every day it also rises again the next. Each of us has a journey to take and we owe it to ourselves to see how it all turns out. No matter where you go…there you are. Oh yeah. Growing up is its own best revenge. I’m now 6’4″ and 235 pounds. Flick my ear and I’ll thump a knot up ‘side your head that AJAX won’t take off. Pretty is as pretty does.
Thank goodness I never lost my love for the sea. It renews my soul and reminds me that there’s still lots to learn and experience. Now, I do have my standards. Every visit must include a stay at Mermaid Cottages, fresh seafood from the waters around Tybee Island, time to share long walks with my beloved dogs (some call them demon seeds) and the opportunity to let my Tickle Box get turned over as much as possible. Pretty is as pretty does.
It’s island life. It’s pretty and it does me good. It’s the circle of life. It’s Cottage Cheese!
WATCH Pretty Is As Pretty Does on YouTube.