Thursday, May 31, 2007

Getting a haircut on the deck

I never had a haircut from a barber until I was 14 or 15. I guess I never really thought too much about my appearance. It seems kids didn't think about that stuff as much back then.

My dad was my barber. During the summer, we would sit up on our deck which overlooked our woods. The air would be sticky with humidity, and it was certain that horseflies or mosquitoes would be searching for a scalp or arm to make its victim. We'd coat ourselves with a thorough coating of Off to make sure we were left bug-free.

I'd go shirtless, sit on one of the stumps that had been cut from out woods and my dad would break out his comb and two pair of shears. I'll never forget the name of the thinning ones: Double Ducks. They had a little red plastic carrying case.

I had straight bangs on my forehead. In fact, I think I had the same cut from the time I was five until I reached about 14, when my dad moved before us to El Paso. Again, no worries. I was a kid. A cool haircut didn't matter. And my dad always did a great job.

If we were lucky, we'd catch a Detroit Tigers baseball game while the cut was being done. WJR 760 AM with Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey. But more on the Tiges later.

In the background, off in the woods, locusts would buzz their song of summer. You would get so used to their drone that it would seem positively silent when it was gone. It's a sound I miss.

When we'd get to cutting my bangs, my dad would always tell me to sit very still. I'm sure there was a time when I'd flinch; perhaps a mosquito decided to ignore the Off. If I did, the bangs would get a little bit shorter.

At the end of the cut, I could be sure that I'd be itchy until I'd get a shower. The humidity would make certain that the small locks of my auburn hair would stick to my neck.

Getting a haircut in summer always felt good. The air would feel cooler, and Tigers baseball cap would definitely fit better.

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