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Thursday, Mar. 14, 2002
When I was small, there were barbershops on every third corner in the small town I lived in.

And the proprietor would be a portly fellow wearing a white pullover tunic with short sleeves, dark slacks and reasonably shiny shoes. Most of the barbers had a side chair where a pensioner would dab away at a pair of shoes for 50 cents.

Why, in my town we even had a barber supershop. Eight chairs, take a seat, little off the top?

There was nothing at all quite like the feeling you had when rising from the deep leather comfort after a haircut. Shorn, whisked clean, neck still tingling from the hot lather and razor swiping, the smell of witch hazel and combs in blue jars on the counter. One dollar, maybe two, and a wave to the man and off you go. Feeling the wind on your head where hair used to be.

And now they're so nearly extinct, these places. The twirly red and blue striped hurricane signs that spun and let you know that here, right here, was the place for ragged hair to fall. The Outdoor Life magazines and coat racks and mirrors all around the walls place. Gone.

Nearly gone. There's one left nearby, a little ghost of a place that only makes me hanker for times gone by. They have the sign, and the chairs, but you're more likely to see only a copy of the morning paper on the magazine table. And they sell shampoos and skin care products at the register. And instead of a guy named Chuck or Don you might get a Lisa or a Kathy to wield the clippers.

I don't mind having a woman cut my hair, they do a perfectly fine job. But it's just not the same. I can't have any sort of stream of conscious conversation with a woman who has a pair of scissors in her hand. They tend to say things like "My, you really have lovely hair" or "Can I recommend some of this new conditioner?" and I just can't see Chuck the barber having anything to do with that sort of talk.

He might have recommended a new brand of tires or expounded on the merits of duck hunting but that's about it.

The barbers have gone. There must be a retirement home full of them, and full service gas attendants, pocket watch repairmen, butcher shop owners. Those once necessary and honorable. The tide just swept them out and they never came back. And more's the pity.

I got a haircut today so that I'd at least look presentable to the multitude at Darlington. Which is where I'm off to this morning to take in the sights and sounds of the races (yes, yes. off to the races. yes.) We rustled up an RV from Stu's father in law and have packed it full. It isn't one of those motor coach type of busses that your average rock band might tour in but then, we're not on tour.

See you all next week.

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