Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Scarf and The Tattoo

These days it is rare to see a woman protect her coiffure with a scarf. In the sixties, women commonly put fashionable scarves over their hairdos to keep the wind from negatively intervening in their appearance. I remember my mother had a number of decorative scarves; silky ones with patterns, nylon ones with simple polka dots, and filmy colored ones that looked like colored smoke.

I hadn’t thought of this in years, but this morning at Taco Bell in my preparations for Chinese School, the little bent lady put a scarf on her head before she headed outside.

Her scarf reminded me of the time when my dad was in charge of the Cub Scout banquet and awards ceremony.

An average sized man, my dad was an ex-Marine, had a wiry, athletic build and a haircut that bordered on a crew cut. This was when I was in second grade, so that would make me seven-ish. I am not sure where the plan came from, but it was decided that he would wear an American Indian costume. This consisted of his brown work jeans, a vest fashioned from a chamois skin, and a headband. With or without a feather, no one can remember that part. The reason for the lapse of memory on that minor point was the major point on his arm. There was the matter of the tattoo of the eagle with a banner in its beak bearing “TEXAS” and “USMC” above and below the regal bird. This was superimposed over a three and a half inch star. He was not particularly proud of the tattoo, but also felt that the effect of a Native American wearing a Texas star and eagle on his bicep would not appear authentic.

I suppose the thought to wrap a scarf around his upper arm came from old western movies where waves of the red man (in truth mostly Mexicans and Italians) ran to their cinematic deaths in the face of heroic Caucasians firing Model 94’s from behind wagon wheels. Those guys had scarves and bandanas and wampum all over the place.

The effect of the scarf really did add quite a bit to the overall look of the costume, but the filmy red one let the blue of the tattoo show a little too well. So they covered it with a yellow one. The proud eagle could still be seen through the colored smoke. A blue one, an orange one, a green one finally did the trick. Of course, it would look lop-sided not to have at least one or two on the other arm. But they didn't carry the same urgency, and thus were not as critically regarded. The most colorful Swedish Apache was ready for the banquet.

As he stood up there in front of all the Cubs and their parents, I was proud of my dad who was no longer a machinist from Monsanto Chemical Company; he was the tough, wild, wearing-a-chamois-vest-with-no-shirt warrior, passing on the honors to the young adventurers in the ancient light of fluorescent tubes in an elementary school cafeteria, back in the historic days of 1967.

And I tell you, the effect of the colorful cloth strips around his arms made him look downright brave.

7 comments:

Howlsatmoon said...

Heh.....yup, remembering our Sires is good for us, and outstanding for our Cubs.

We both want ours to have fond....and proud memories of us also.

Good on you, aA. I have 33 days till I meet an Angel. I'll wave heartily as I fly over Texas!

Good post, Buddy
Wollf

Anonymous said...

aA
Mostly....I remember him calling out Charles Easterling's name.....over and over and over. Where IS Charles?
Sis

aA said...

thanks Mr. Wollf! good luck on your trip to "heaven", if you don't fly over Houston, don't waste a wave, Texas is big, your arm won't be worth anything by the time you get to Louisiana...

aA said...

i don't know, but i'll bet his resume is missing some Cub Scout experience!

invigilator_tex said...

Man, for a minute I thought the wolf was planning on checking out of this world, but I'm glad to realize it's a return trip he's planning.

aA, ya kinda choked me up with this post. My boy had his first pinewood derby last weekend. I'm proud to say he came in second in his Tiger division. We put some quality time in building and racing that little car....oops, there I go gettin weepy again. Must be my age.

aA said...

tex, cowboy-up, will ya? he'll remember that for the rest of his life. or at least till he's YOUR age. good job, dad!

i'm glad you gave Wollfie the benefit of the doubt!

Howlsatmoon said...

Hey! Look up in the sky....or at my site, heh...I found a pic I was lookin' for.

Hi guys!!
Wollf

Still scratchin' fleas......