The Barbershop Hour

Two barber chairs each stand comfortably filled with weathered men, red and white striped capes draped from their shoulders; a third chair not in use. Television sounds float out from a hidden corner only seen in one of three large mirrors hanging on the wall behind two seasoned barbers intently sculpting the hair on their clients. My Husband sits in a chair along the opposite wall, waiting for a vacancy.

Business cards plaster a wall near the door, along with flyers of Dodge City happenings and a yellow-gold, pre-cellphone wall-phone. Ancient black and white photos of Dodge crowd the wall above the cards. Buffalo-decorated calendars and hard-to-read certificates fill any other wall spots, and a long shelf near the ceiling almost sags with antique shaving cups, lather brushes, and a miniature US flag waves in the air from two rattling ceiling fans.

The floor beneath the two working chairs gradually fills up with scattered cut hair; conversation also scatters around concerning the rain last night, a big storm heading for California, a recent wedding, with manly laughter rising and falling, scissors clipping.

A large tree-stump-chain-sawed bear statue, holding a welcome sign, smiles at the big front window; an unplugged hair dryer hangs next to the bear. Near the window stands a big soda machine and its cooling motor regularly starts up and shuts off, adding to all the other calming, barbershop sounds. On the back wall hang a variety of framed photos of things like a 1947 basketball announcement, barber-subject paintings, and more early-1900’s cityscapes. In the mirrors, reflect a Longhorn’s rack of horns hemmed in by several small shelves holding old mugs, flags, route 66 signs, hair tonic bottles, and a Norman Rockwell poster.

The Husband finally earns a vacant seat, is draped with a red-striped cape, and the electric shears start up again. More men arrive—young, old, and in-between. Hair on the floor thickens; the barber chairs spin slowly around; and when the sculpted clients leave the chairs, out come the billfolds while the barbers wait; then money passes from hand to hand; goodbyes said. The barber shop is left behind without tears, because we’ll be back.


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