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Visits to barber are never snippy

May 24, 2009|By LLOYD "PETE" WATERS

Going to a barbershop can be a real adventure. I still remember my first haircut as a young boy growing up in Dargan. My grandfather Reno would take me up the road to Mr. Jamison's house for a haircut.

Mr. Jamison's barber tools were not always sharp. He seemed to pull some of the hairs from my head instead of cutting them with the scissors.

He would not pay too much attention to the squirming or "ouches" I made in the chair.

Mr. Jamison would then laugh as he announced he was now going to clean out my tater patch. That was barber slang for cutting the hair on the nape of your neck.

My grandfather gave Mr. Jamison a quarter or so for my haircut, a real bargain in those days.

I didn't complain much because I knew more hairs could have been pulled, and I would be back in a few weeks for a shape-up.

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Today, the art of barbering has advanced significantly. I even almost look forward to a haircut just for the socializing that usually occurs.

About every four weeks or so, on a Saturday morning, I rise from my bed at about 4:45 a.m. to go and get a haircut.

"I don't know any barbershops that open at 5:30 in the morning," my wife exclaims.

"Well, my barber is a little different than most and I'll take you along if you like," I usually respond. She declines and goes back to sleep.

My barber has a sense of humor, and always tries to tell a funny joke. Most of the time, his customers laugh to be polite.

Sometimes, he offers a political anecdote and sometimes a joke ... most of the time, I can't tell the difference.

When he can't remember a joke, he will pass a printed out version around to each customer. Good thing most of his customers can read.

There is, however, a downside here and there to consider.

This past winter, while my barber was splitting some wood, he managed to chop off the ends of a few fingers.

Now I know what you are thinking ... I wouldn't trust any barber with a pair of scissors who chopped off a few of his fingers with a wood splitter.

I had some of the same reservations, but this barber is really quite good with scissors. Before he got into barbering, he drove big trucks.

For the record, I have never requested a shave from him.

Although I wouldn't invite him to a wood splitting party at my house, he is a most decent and nice fellow.

He always has coffee brewing for his customers and a Herald-Mail newspaper to browse at no extra charge. Most of the time, he even has Styrofoam coffee cups.

Conversations in a barbershop can cover political issues, sporting events, illnesses and deaths, taxes, electric increases, the cost of milk and eggs, corrupt politicians, Wall Street crooks and just about anything you might want to discuss.

Everyday conversation and everyday concerns expressed by everyday people. My barbershop is a neat place.

Not many things in the news these days tend to make us happy, but I have to tell you, going to my barbershop is a lot more entertaining than sitting in front of the tube watching CNN ... I just wish he didn't take so much hair off the top of my head!

Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a resident of Sharpsburg.

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