There is a Latin phrase in the Catholic church, according to Don's neighbor Bill, that means "Protestants, get off the lawn". We learned this at Cactus Jack's bar and grill last night.
JC is fascinated with the hundred thousand ant trail now processing across our Palm Desert patio. So far she has tormented them with cinnamon and just now announced that they don't like vinegar. The chemistry experiment goes on.
The last great ant expedition was New Year's Day, 2012. I tripped on the the trash can handle and fell on my right shoulder and back, tearing completely my upper rotator cuff tendon. The ER doc diagnosed a torn tricep and also told me that Ibu slows muscle healing. Mark Humphrey, orthopedic surgeon and good friend back home, said "Who told you that?". Of course, both propositions were totally wrong. I kill ants more carefully now, in my old age.
I'm now grappling with the prospect of searching out a new barber. Having gone to the same shop in Fairway, KS, just up the block, since moving in in May 1972, I've now completed 41 years of loyal patronage and mediocre haircuts on a progressively more hairless pate.
My first barber Jerry, was an old guy, probably in his forties, who still did the around the ear and down the back of the head shave as well as the shoulder massage with a massive, chrome-plated, back of the hand vibrator. Jerry had a weekend place in Tightwad, MO at which he spent many of his Sundays and Mondays, those being a barber's weekend. One weekend, while up in a tree doing some trimming, he fell out, landing on his feet. Unfortunately, he broke both feet, an injury not conducive to barbering. He promptly sold his lease and business to Carroll. This happened in the early 90's, call it 1992, so Jerry and I had a twenty year association. One of the more pleasant highlights was in 1974 (?) when an otherwise hapless and winless K-State football team somehow beat the number one team in the country, Oklahoma, at Norman. I was in Jerry's shop when the game was over and celebrated by having Jerry cut off my feeble combover. Sharon didn't notice until I made a point of it.
Carroll was a fun guy, a retired Air Force MP who loved to talk, built spec houses and restored 1950's cars in his spare time. We got along great. Sometimes when he really got into a story, my hair would end up quite a bit shorter than I intended, causing a longer time to elapse between my quarterly cuts.
JC and I spent Jan and Feb of this year, 2013, here in the desert, a great and marvelous idea. My first cut in March at Carrol's was eventful. I learned that Carroll had suffered a fairly big heart attack when cutting wood at his place (wood butchering is apparently not good for barbers), and had undergone bypass surgery. He looked a little lighter but seemed fine, so it was a surprise when I called for my June appointment when a strange voice who identified herself as Emily told me Carroll had retired. Apparently Carroll came in to the shop on April 26 and announced to everyone that he was retiring and immediately did just that. Emily bought the place. I gave her a try and found her inexperienced at dealing with heads such as mine. She was friendly enough though she got a little prickly when I asked her if she thought she could cut my hair. Said something about having done hair for all her adult life, which I would judge to be about ten years. Kept muttering about "there must be some way to style this hair". She also was in amazement that one of her customers said he had been coming to the shop for forty years. I advised her of my status and also told her that Carroll charged me $7.00 for a cut, a complete lie as he charged me $15.00 (never gave me a break saying that bald guys were more picky than regular customers). Emily responded that Carroll charged different amounts to different people. When she was done, she told me that $7.00 was good enough. I gave her $10.00.
Late July 2013 - my second appt with Emily. None of that styling effort this time; just a short cut and taper. She now charges me $17. I knew it was too good to last.
Of course I had barbers when growing up. I used to go to "Mac" McDonald's place on State Street for my every two week Flattop cut. Mac was a neighbor both on 7th street and in the Moyle edition, living next door on 7th and a couple of blocks away up north. Mac's place was always the place to go if you were a hunter, fisherman or other outdoorsman. Mac had dogs and hunted regularly. His son Dick was my buddy on 7th street for several years. Our adventures are deserving of another chapter sometime. Mom got pissed with Mac for some reason around eighth grade and I was encouraged to go to the other barber in town, Frank, down on 5th. He introduced me to Butchwax and I was sold. No longer did my Flattop immediately lie down; a little application of Butchwax and my hair stood on end for hours. Kind of left a mess on a pillow though.