“Hi, Maga! It’s Abby,” I said, taking the phone from my mom’s hand as we started a steep uphill ascent on the neighborhood walk.


“Yes! Hi!”

“What are you doing?”

“Well, we’re on a walk around the neighborhood.”


“Oh, wow! There’s a huge tree down up ahead.” (Thank you, Tropical Storm Isaias.)

“What’s that?” Maga said.

“The wind knocked down some branches and one is covering nearly half the street.”

“Oh. I thought you said three.”

“Well,” I looked at my companions (my mother and father), “there are three of us on this walk. The three amigos.”

“Like companions.”

“Or a movie.”

“There’s someone here,” Maga said. I could hear Caregiver M talking and then Maga dropped the phone to her lap. After a brief rustling, Maga’s voice came back and we reached the top of the hill, only to have another hill to climb, so I maintained control of the phone.

“Like a nurse?”

“No.” And then she began to recite some words about hair salons and how the governor hadn’t yet made a decision on how they could open safely. “Want to make your voice heard? Call the [state] department of health at 303.692.2000. Let’s make some noise.”

Mom and I looked at each other. “Is that a commercial?” I asked.

“A flyer?” Mom asked.

Maga recited it all over again.

“You don’t need to go to the salon,” Mom said. “Caregiver M does your hair beautifully.”

“I haven’t had my hair done,” Maga said. (Maybe it wasn’t done it a salon, but reader, she had. That morning. We’d seen gorgeous pictorial evidence. There isn’t much Caregiver M can’t do.)

“I haven’t had my hair cut since February,” I said.

“Do you remember when you used to perm my hair?” Mom said to Maga. “I was 5.”

“No, I don’t remember that,” Maga said.

“Tell me more,” I said.

“My bangs became about 1/2″ long!” Mom could barely get up the hill, speak, and laugh at the same time. Ditto for me. Maga chuckled reluctantly. Dad was about 50 yards behind us at this point, more interested in how many tree branches fell than hair styles and salons.

Maga found the flyer in her lap and recited it all over again, which gave us time to catch our collective breath. As she started reading it for the fourth time, I chimed in word for word.

“What should I say?” Maga said.

“You could tell them you’d like the salon in your care center opened.”

“What number should I call?”

“303,” Mom and I started at the same time.

“Hold on!” Maga said. “Let me get a pen.”

We waited and we walked. Maga got the number and some advice on what to say and who she was to call. “Where is it?” she asked.

“Downtown,” Mom said.

“I’m not going to go there,” Maga said, crunching on something.

“Are you eating something?” I asked.

“Popcorn,” Maga said.

“They dropped off the flyer and some popcorn,” Caregiver M said.

Having a bucket of popcorn at this point in the conversation seemed awfully apropos.

“So the number is 303.692.2000,” Maga said. “And it’s where?”

“Downtown,” Mom repeated.

“I’m not going there!” Maga repeated.

“No, no. You’re to ask about the hair salon at [Care Center],” Mom said.

“A hair storm?” Maga said.

It seemed we’d come full circle literally, figuratively, conversationally.

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