We didn't spend a lot of money on haircuts when I was a kid. There was a little step stool on the back porch that me and my brothers sat on while Dad pretty much shaved our heads with an old pair of electric clippers. I'm pretty sure they were the same clippers he used when we were getting our calves ready for the 4-H fair. I did get to go the barber up in Mooreland once when I was getting fixed up to be the ring-bearer in my cousins wedding. All of the guys in the wedding party had to have flat-top haircuts to match the groom, and I guess Dad didn't feel qualified to create such an intricate do.
When we graduated to Junior High, store bought haircuts became the norm. Once every two weeks, at 7:00 on Tuesday morning, after the milking was done and before school started, Dad would haul us in to Earl Rinehart's shop for his version of the "burr cut". I really didn't think I needed a haircut every two weeks, but I was never really consulted in that regard.
When we got a little older, and were allowed to wear our hair a little longer, Bob Davis took over in his shop in the back of Uncle Woody Bowman's Insurance office. Bob kept a stack of Playboy magazines in the cabinet beside his sink, and I decided that getting a haircut every two weeks might not be so bad after all.
I didn't have much need for a barber after I graduated from high school and started college. Not that I had anything personal against them, but I was going for the hippie look, and barbers didn't really fit into that scenario.
When I started looking for a job, I discovered that I probably needed to find a barber again. A young man named Danny Ballenger was working in Russell Stubbs shop at the time, and although I didn't go for what might have been considered a corporate style trim, Danny was able to find a happy medium so that I looked respectable enough to work for more mature crowd that paid my wages, but not so respectable that I couldn't get a date with the girls that weren't.
Danny's been cutting my hair for about 40 years. I know I can't remember all of the stories he has told me and all of the stories I have told him over those years about parents, spouses and kids, but I can remember the good ones, and most of the funny ones, and even a few of the sad ones.
I sure don't have as much hair as I had 40 years ago, and I always thought I ought to get some kind of a discount as my hairline receded and caused less wear and tear on Danny's clippers. He claimed that I was getting a discount, but the price remained the same after he figured in the hunting license and finders fee.
I got my last haircut from Danny last Friday. He's retiring at the end of the year.
I guess we'll just have to swap stories about the grand kids at the coffee shop from now on.
And I guess I'll have to see if I can borrow his clippers and take them out to Dad.