As I found my barber shears and the comb, and sat my husband in the chair for his monthly haircut, I found myself thinking back on other days of 'shearing'.
When I was small, Mom would get out a set of electric clippers, and I'd watch as the buzzing machine in her hand trimmed away his deep,wavy hair. Dad didn't care much for his hair being long enough to show the waves. It was harder for him to keep that way, so he'd have her cut it close to his head. What a shame! I thought the wavy hair was so handsome on him! His last haircut was done not long before he passed away 25 years ago, the evidence of which still remains in his beat up old felt hat that is in my closet.
My brothers, too, were sometimes the victims of that machine. Every summer they'd get crew cuts at Nat's or Augie's barbershop, but in between times, as their hair grew out, they'd get a scissor trim or a full-on close cut.
I was lucky. I didn't have to endure the sound or the use of that little electric monster. I got my share of 'just straight around' cuts, though, with a pair of none-too-sharp scissors that could pull my hair. But, as bad as those scissors were, I was far more enthusiastic about them then those clippers! I hated haircuts back then. No matter how much towel or sheet was wrapped around me, the clippings always managed to get down inside my clothes. No amount of baby powder applied or brushing off could keep the annoying little hairs from causing my back to itch until I had my bath!
Years later, I became a hairdresser. I was always very careful to wrap the neck as tightly as possible without choking my patron. The cape was always placed over the back of the chair, so that as few clippings as possible would cause my patron discomfort.
After I married and had children, I was the only barber or hairdresser they knew until they left home. My son had never been to a barber until he joined the Air Force. Today my children and grandchildren go to salons for their haircuts. I can't say that I'm unhappy about that. I've still got three patrons, Mom, my husband, and myself... but won't take on any others. Sometimes you grow weary of doing what you once loved, and I'm ready to retire from this occupation.