Earl Puckett was a strong, traditional, coal-mining, tough guy in his youth. I hear that he softened up quite a bit when his grandchildren came along, but we still saw him as tough as nails! when he would come in from the coal mines, covered in coal dust, he would kick off his boots and set his lunch bucket down by the side door. no one was to bother him until he had slid out of his coveralls and gone up for a shower in a bathroom that was inside a house he’d built by hand. we would wait, help mama put the supper on the table as he cleaned up. as he emerged, smelling of hair tonic and ivory soap, he’d be our papa, all jokes, and tall tales and ‘tell me what y’all got into today.’ (i will mention here that no one ever dared sit in his chair. there was one particular chair, it was never really spoken about, but we just knew that one was reserved for him. see what I mean? tough guy.)
but at the end of a visit, or before we went to bed, he’d invite us in for a hug and say “gimme some sugar” and we’d knock him a little kiss on the cheek. I loved hearing these words and being enveloped in the strength of his embrace.
it’s only now as an adult, I realize why that felt so amazing. it’s a beautiful thing to feel strength and vulnerability in someone simultaneously. it is also very rare to feel those things at once. honestly, though, I don’t know why these two things have EVER been considered mutually exclusive. the times that we are most vulnerable generally require the most courage and strength. for me, the times when I take a deep breath and ask for love, for acceptance, for help… these are the scariest.
I decided to wrap that feeling and sentiment into a sweet soft mint green bandana to remind us to ask for what we need, to be soft and vulnerable. while at the same time, to be brave and say, “hey you, gimme some sugar.”