Thursday, February 24, 2011

Long Haul

One of the interesting things about life in a rural area is that you know many people for decades, people who aren't necessarily your friends, but people who have been around forever and are connected to you in odd ways. My mind meandered along that track today when I went to get my hair cut.

Why you may ask? Well, my barber, Don, first opened his shop when he returned from 'Nam in 1972 and I first met him when I returned home from college over Christmas break that year and got a haircut. We ran into each other for the occasional haircut over the coming years until L and I moved back here in 1989. Then it became a regular occurrence. So we have known each other on an acquaintance basis for close to 40 years.

Over the course of that time we have discovered other connections. His late father used to run a pool hall here which was frequented by an uncle of mine (by marriage) who practiced pool at the shark level there for a time. I never put the two together until Dag (his father) died and the obituary mentioned Dag's Pool Hall. By that time my uncle was long gone as well. When I mentioned to Don that I had never mentally connected him with Dag and my uncle, it turned out he had never connected my uncle with me either. Strange how some connections only become apparent later.

Likewise at his 60th birthday party (a small gathering of ~200 people {*grin*}), I discovered that we were for a time related by marriage. The daughter of one of my second cousins who was the in the same class as L and I was married to his younger brother for a time. We only became aware of the connection when she attended the party and we got to talking while waiting for the cake to be cut.

Don also serves as an area Santa Claus every year, both charity and private. He has a classic fire truck bedecked with lights that he drives around delivering cheer and presents, raising money for charity. The Son had many a Christmas where Santa arrived on Christmas Eve with sirens blaring and gifts in tow. Somewhere I even have a picture with mom sitting on Santa's lap from one of those years.

I even sicked the press on Don one election year when the Denver papers were covering the ballot issues out here. He didn't know at first who sent the reporter down to spend the afternoon kvetching with him and his customers, but always swore he'd get even someday. I'm still waiting. {*grin*}

The point of all this meandering is that, one of these days, Don is going to retire and I'll have to find a new barber. That will be a strange adjustment after all these years. No more calling for an appointment and having him recognize my voice. No more asking when I can get in to be made handsome and being told there is no hope for that, but that he might be able to make me look like less of a bum. I'm going to miss that.


  1. Aww, Don does sound like a great acquaintance :) My grandmother knows someone like that too, though he was her doctor (he had a small clinic near her house). It was pretty sad when he told her that he was retiring and that she had to see a doctor at the local hospital instead.


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