Sometimes old friends intensify their shades of color when you aren’t looking. You see that same face, year after year, and you don’t really look at your spouse or your kid or your friend.
That’s no insult; quite the contrary. We feel the presence of pals, and it is for the best of reasons that we aren’t always paying attention to faces that are taken for granted. That’s because we are so comfortable hanging out with each other. You feel their warm presence more than looking them square in the face.
Many of us don’t know the color of the eyes of friends and family. We don’t gawk intensely at faces.
I am one of those imperfect husbands whose wife comes back from the beauty parlor and asks, “How do you like my new hair color?” I confess, many of us will answer, “What hair color?”
That’s because we don’t spend the lion’s share of our lives examining a wife’s noggin. We don’t gawk at the people we love. We hug more often than we stare.
Beware the woman who gets lost in reading. When she’s in that mode, a shrewd child can say, “Is it OK if I eat the last piece of chocolate?”
More often than not, the mom, lost in thought, says “Uh-huh,” not really listening.
The kid grabs the booty and slithers away. That’s called a mother’s uh-huh.
Similarly, we go days on end without noticing changes in a face we already know. Thus it was that something brought me back into focus that made me realize my aunt had grown a mustache. And a football-playing nephew seems to have misplaced one of his ears.
The other day I suddenly noticed the face of Jack, one of our Siamese cats. He had a much darker face than I had seen before. I was startled to notice he is getting so much darker.
Siamese do that. He’s 8 years old, middle-aged for a cat. Somehow such cats deepen their black fur and grow more beautiful as they grow older. When you see that cat day after day you suddenly realize he is a small, dramatic copy of a large black jungle cat. And he becomes magnificent.
That made me pay attention. I noticed my longtime friend Richard has a snow-white head and beard that I had forgotten. So I looked in the mirror. Lo and behold, my beard hair has turned a pristine white. When did that happen? Unlike Richard, most of my head hair went AWOL years ago.
What’s this all about? As a cat gets older, it is rewarded with fur the dramatic color of ebony. When a human male grows old, he is given white hair and beard – not awful but not ebony.
What was Mother Earth thinking? Why wouldn’t a Siamese cat turn white rather than deep black?
Part of the explanation is that Richard and I are not the same species as Jack.
Bill Nye, the science guy, recently said, “There’s really no such thing as race. There’s different tribes but not different races. We’re all one species.”
Cats and dogs are separate species, even if they all have four legs and the rude habit of sniffing each other. We human beings are all the same critter, even if we are different colors and sizes and habits.
It’s like cars. They have diverse colors but they are the same invention all over the world.
Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, so outwardly different from one another, are both the same kind of creature.
A man told me he spent a year in the Vietnam War. When he returned, his mother’s face had aged five years.
Contact Bill Hall at email@example.com or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.