This momma doesn’t like to see red

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I see her now, and she’s got that trashy red fingernail polish. Oh my goodness, there’s a bottle of what looks like a bottle of black, too.

I don’t know how those bottles made it into the house. I know I didn’t buy them.

You know how little things stick in our minds sometimes. For some, it’s a smell that brings back flashes of childhood; while for others, it may be that the immediate recollection of all 50 state capitals.

For me, it’s how one of my favorite aunts told a 13-year-old me that a lady never wears red fingernail polish. It stuck, good, too because it’s a mantra of sorts that I have apparently ingrained into at least two of my children.

I know, because the youngest one spouted off in the grocery store line the other day.

An older woman, 60 or so, (who, thank you to all things that are holy, doesn’t live here) caught her admiring her death claws, painted, of course, in a vibrant fire engine red. You know the kind I’m talking about – so long they’ve started to curl.

“You like?” she asked, as she fanned her hand towards her. “Girls should have pretty nails.”

And as if you couldn’t see it coming, my child said, “My momma says red fingernails are trashy. I can’t have ‘em. Can’t have red shoes, either.”

My only response was, “I told you that you can’t have red high-heel shoes. You are too little.”

I didn’t address the fingernail thing, and bless that woman’s heart, she just giggled, like she didn’t mind my child just called her trashy.

Of course, this is also the child who told me the other day that her sister’s caterpillar was turning into a raccoon.

I was embarrassed, but my Gracie-girl wasn’t. She proceeded to tell the woman that her momma will sometimes let “us wear it on our toes ‘cause it’s OK to have red toes. We just can’t have red shoes. Man, I really want some red high heel shoes. I would be tall. My sister is tall. She don’t got no red shoes, either.”

By then, the line had moved and the woman’s groceries were bagged. She hauled up her gigantic purse, and I smiled and did the only thing I could think to do.

“We don’t say ‘don’t got no.’ It’s ‘don’t have any.’ ”

“Yep,” Gracie-girl said. “That’s one of them double-doubles. Can’t do them either. Momma says it ain‘t right English.”

The woman looked at me and deadpanned, “I hope they find something they can do later.”

I shook my head in amusement, and said, “Don’t let her fool you. She’s got it going on.”

So, as the middle one sat out on the porch Wednesday, I let her go – painting her fingernails an alternating red and black, even though every fiber in my being wants to put a stop to it.