Devotion – August 1 – “The Day Trudy Lost Her Hair”
Each summer as a child, I would go up North and spend a week or two with my Grandma and two aunts who lived in the Eland Township – a town of maybe 500 people which included cats, dogs and a generous “village” territory. The town was big enough though, to put together a men’s Home Talent baseball team and a fast-pitch woman’s softball team. The men played on Sunday afternoon’s and the women on Wednesday evenings. I loved walking to the diamond and taking in the games.
On a Wednesday evening, while visiting, I made my way to the women’s game. I think I was twelve-years-old at the time. It was a big game as Eland was playing host to its closest rival’s Wittenberg. Go Eland! But as soon as I sat down on the bleachers, my love of the game immediately gave away to something else. Warming up for Eland that night was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in my short life. Let me tell you, I was in love! She was tall and angular, she had long painted fingernails (I couldn’t figure out how she was able to pitch with them, but she could, with an enormous amount of speed). She had the face of an actress, enhanced by wearing eye shadow, make-up and bright red lipstick. But what caught my attention more than anything else, was her gorgeous long black hair. … If you still can’t tell, I was in love, love, love!
It was the third inning of the game when she sent in a fast ball, which the batter sent back at her, at twice the speed. Thankfully the come-backer only grazed the side of her head. What I wasn’t prepared for was, as the ball grazed off her head and headed towards second base, so did her hair! I almost dropped by root-beer and like the proverbial cartoon rendition of someone’s jaw dropping all the way to the ground, mine did. My heart deflated as I came to understand that the love of my life was wearing a wig!
My love for her turned to derision by the time I got back to my Grandmothers. When she asked me how the game went, I quickly told her that we had won, but then got to the “play of the day” so to speak. I told her about the pitcher losing her hair. After I was done regaling her -- between bouts of laughter -- with every detail, including her trying to get her hair back on while still on the mound. As I kept talking to my Grandma, I noticed rather than joining with me in laughing at the situation, she remained sober. When I finally got done, she said, “Yes, that’s Trudy. She can be pretty vain about her looks at times, but she is the most wonderful Sunday school teacher we have ever had at church.”
I learned a valuable lesson that evening about judging people – don’t! I had initially judged her solely on her looks – that wasn’t fair. Then, I laughed at her, because one of her secrets got put on full display – that wasn’t fair, either. Now I was finding out that she was a faithful member of my Grandmother’s church who was giving a lot of time to share her faith with all the children of Eland, Wisconsin – I had never contemplated trying to find out who she was on the inside, in her soul – that wasn’t right.
A handful of years later, our entire family got together in Eland because it was my Grandma’s final Sunday of playing the organ at church. She was retiring after more than forty years. After the service as Grandma made her way down the balcony, with us following behind, we saw that the entire church had gathered in the narthex to clap for her and give her a hug.
You want to guess who was first in line to thank her? … Yes, it was Trudy. She gave my Grandmother one of the biggest hugs I had ever seen and thanked her profusely for playing all those years.
Looking at her at that moment, I came to see the real Trudy and you know what? She was beautiful. Very beautiful.
~ God bless, Dan