Gram's little helper
Blue rinse is described as a dilute dye used to color the greying hair of middle aged and older women. It covers the sometimes translucent (showing scalp color), or the yellowish tint that sometimes develops, usually as a result of heavy smoking. Blue rinse isn't known to have restorative powers for the yellow nicotine stains sometimes visible on the fingers of said smokers. There is something rather jarring about seeing an elderly woman with blue hair and yellowed fingers, but that may just be me.

Code blue
Blue rinse isn't valuable only to the ladies who employ its wiles. If you drive on the highways, be on the lookout for blue rinse. It's one of the telltales that will alert you that you're following a driver who may be less than compos mentis. True, the lady in question won't have a cellphone grafted to the side of her head in an unholy amalgam of human and machine, but she has been around the block many times over. Remember, forewarned is forearmed. Another tip off that will help you spot the poor lady (as if the blue rinse itself isn't a dead giveaway) is the sight of bony knuckles clinching the steering wheel in a deathgrip at the approved locations of 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock. These 2 factors plus the fact that she's barreling along at a brisk 40 miles per hour completes the warning picture.

If you feel the need for speed, forget it. The blue rinsed driver doesn't realize that her Plymouth Volare came with either an interior or exterior rearview mirror. She is like an asteroid blazing (at 40 MPH) through the cosmos. She isn't going to deviate from her trajectory for anything so trivial as traffic backed up behind her for 3 miles.

What's not to like?
The blue rinse ladies have a lot going for them. Chances are fairly good that they don't have any tats or piercings, not that you'd want to venture a peek anyway. You've seen some of these ladies, right? A tat of a dragon after 50 years looks disturbingly similar to a petrified bat. That vine that was so cute when Richard Nixon was inaugurated will now be mistaken for strands of barbed wire around Stalag 17. A piercing through her lip would bring up visions of that large mouth bass that got away because you were beer sotted and dropped your pole overboard. Bad juju all the way around. Think good thoughts, imagine pretty sunsets, cleanse your mind.

She's a brick house, good God a'mighty
Oh, I'm sorry, I got lost for a moment there. The blue rinse ladies can probably make a blueberry cobbler. That's a good thing, especially since she knows to have vanilla ice cream in the freezer to go along with it. She knows how to do laundry, how to cook lots of goodies, how to pot a plant. If it weren't for her, think of all the human knowledge that'd be right out the window. Don't even try to tell me that you know how to pot a plant. You might know how to plant pot, but that isn't necessarily the same thing.

Hey officer, I thought she was being attacked!
Blue rinse helps ladies maintain their dignity, their self-image, their decorum. It helps their husbands and the friends of their husbands to not shoot at them because they were mistaken for a possum. Trust me, you don't want to have an involved conversation with an armed officer because you thought a woman had a marsupial on her head. There aren't a lot of blue possums waddling about. It should be a law to have any lady who walks into the woods to wear blaze orange and blue rinse their hair. It'll make the hunting accident statistics look much better.

The blue crew
If you feel the need to cruise in the environs where blue rinse gals naturally congregate, try staking out your local bingo parlor. If you watch the comings and goings and don't see blue rinse, check where you're at, because it isn't the bingo parlor. Almost anywhere in Florida will serve the purpose. Florida has a higher concentration of blue rinse ladies per 1000 population than Paris has of Frenchmen. Remember, numbers are on my side. Chances are that by the time she gets around to a good blue rinse job she's already a widow.

Let me dip my beak
I've spent considerable time thinking about the lucre that'd be rolling in if I could just corner the market for blue rinse in Florida. Forget the Powerball, who needs the Mega-million jackpot. Those are one shot wonders, a flash in the pan. The blue rinse franchise would pay off day in and day out like a dairy cow squirting milk. Blue rinse would pay out the ultimate ching, the kind that translates into bling!

Mayday, Mayday!
I've kind of run aground on my plan to become a blue rinse magnate though. I can't quite figure out how to get it accomplished. If you can help me with the sordid details I think I can get you into a lucrative sideline like the hernia truss market or hearing aid battery bizz. Have your people call my people and we'll hook up, do lunch, make a deal, what do you say?

The optificational principles of bluing was known to us country folk since 1880-somethin'. Always makes me laugh when city folk buy all manner of potions and expensive thingummers to get their whites "whiter". Any fool with a good old fashioned schoolin' knows that people see a blue-white as "whiter" than a real white, therefore, puttin blue into yer warsh makes it appear whiter than it is, and Maw-Maw's been usin bluing, a kind of blue crystal, for ever.

I did some slight studyifying of optics when I was lookin' to improve my night shooting and dusk fishing. Gotta go out at dusk to catch the big bass.

But anyway, some bright spark decides that if you can put bluing in the warsh, then most certain it might work on hairs as well. We already knew that, we were warshing dogs and goats to make em whiter and shinier for the county fair. Old folks' hair goes any manner of craziness. It can look pinky at the scalp and yellow, just like a white rat them kids wanted back in the day, or like as Copperhead Bob, when he got older, all his freckles done bleached out and what little hair he had left went like a really faded sepia print.

Our Joan had them two kids, funny story on that really. Times have changed enough and it's been so long she won't mind. Came back from the harvest dance with a bit of pine straw sticking to the back of her dress and even after they got pregnant right after decidin on a whim to get married, we didn't say nothin. Good thing the boy came early, too. Jim was heavy when he came out, almost a turkey, not a baby. Growed up strong, too. We'd go lookin for him at dinner time and he'd come out of the bushes with half of the woods in his hair and holding something that was green, scaly and wrigglin. We got right worried that one time he came wanderin out dragging a biggun timber rattler like a field dressed deer, but he never got hurt none and the Pastor quoted something from the Good Book about handling snakes if you're right with the Lord. I don't normally argue with the Pastor, but this time, I think I will. Jim was a good kid and we loved him but he was ornery and one night him and that girl he was seeing, the Waylan girl, were kilt on Deadman's Curve. Too fast in that GTO, and I told him that I didn't hold with liquor (ever since I got saved), especially when driving. Hopefully the Pastor's right and Jim was right with the Lord all along, but God moves in mysterious ways.

Maw-Maw didn't say much - she was grievin as we all were. Had the service here in Hard Labor Creek. Jim was fond of the country - country boy through and through. He was fixin to be buried in his Skynyrd T-shirt and holdin' a bottle of Wild Turkey, but Maw-Maw said that weren't right in a church, at a funeral, and we got his hair cut and put him in his Sunday best. He was scowlin' a bit during the visitation, but I'm sure now he's with the Lord he understands.

I usually let the womens get on with things, I was out in the shed, and apparently Joan, who'd taken up with some feller in Alpharetta who moved away when he was a kid, got some strange and fancy ideas out in Atlanta, and said that Maw-Maw's hair was right dingy some, and would she mind if she rinsed her hair blue. Maw-Maw didn't like him much, the time she came across all them kids competing to see who could knock the most quarters off the table with their tallywhacker. Said they were arguin' he'd cheated by pulling his gunnysack right over his pecker and gained an extra two inches. Other boys said that was cheatin, boy said it's just as much a part of a pecker as any other, and when they got to fightin Maw Maw went out to see what the ruckus was, and she done switched them boys all the way home to their maw and paw. Anyhow, she'd since buried the hatchet with Joan's feller, damned if I can remember his name. Anyway, easier to explain to Maw-Maw, said it was like bluing and the time that we blued that dog we were fixin to enter into that show, make its hairs whiter n snow. She did NOT like being compared to ol' Bessie, and almost walked out then. But there was a part of Maw Maw that knew - Joan was buryin' her own kin, and needed to DO something. So her and Joan went off into the bathroom and I went back to cleaning my muzzleloader on the porch.

Maw Maw came out of that bathroom more ornery than that cottonmouth I found in my garage, coiled up next to my tool box that one Autumn. Her hair was bright blue. I don't mean robin's egg blue, I mean a hard, hard BRIGHT blue, like you see on a new mailbox. She was carryin on something fierce about how could she go to church like a good Christian woman with her hair all blued up like one of them new waver kids in Little 5 Points.

Joan got to crying, and Maw Maw softened up some, and there was still time, so they done went to the salon all the way out in Buckhead and she come back with her hair dyed ever so slightly pink. Maw Maw always liked pink. Nothin' was said over dinner, no one had to be warned. We knew. And Maw Maw kept goin every month after that to touch it up. She was quite the talk of the town hall and after church, with her pink hair all coif'd. After she done lost enough teeth she lost interest, sayin there's no point in vanity at her and my's age. I'm fixin' to agree. Still love her like the day we met.

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