October 29, 2009

The Barber Shop

Sean has more hair than my hardwood floors. He has two basic cowlicks, thick hair and the hair that lays on the very top of his head goes in two directions, like the ocean and an undertow. We go to the barber shop quite frequently, even though it probably doesn't show. He is enjoying having his hair longer lately, like his brothers have in years past, so it always looks like he needs a trip to the barber.

Jackie is our barber and she does a great job and in a very warm, friendly manner as well. This is a lady who gives my kids a trim and then goes home and prays for them. What more could you ask of a barber? Recently Sean was getting a haircut and one of Jackie's faithful customers came in with his mom. Mom went next door for her cut and the boy, probably in his early teens, sat down next to me. The boy exchanged some good-natured banter with Jackie and I realized that he was mentally disabled in some way. Soon he was talking to me, telling me entertaining stories of his favorite diner, how he likes to vacuum (I immediately invited him over), that his home had 294 stories and that he vacuums them all, etc. I couldn't help but encourage his stories. We laughed a lot, all four of us.

"Steve" was especially bothered by dirt and on his trips to his favorite diner where he ordered his favorite dinner from his favorite waitress, he would often go into the kitchen and clean the filters of the stove exhaust fans. They are filthy, according to Steve, and he cleans them thousands of times each visit. Someone needs to! Again, I invited him to my home.

All of his restaurant stories reminded me of my years waitressing at Adelphia during summers home from college. The stories I could tell. Of the flying prime rib in the kitchen. Of the pans and pans of baklava I ate with my fingers. Of the time I poured au jus on a lady's head. (That's not one of my personal favorites.) But the story I most wanted to tell Steve was the time Paul, the cook, was leaning over talking to me from behind the serving counter and a piece of bubblegum fell out of his mouth into the bubbling pan of spaghetti sauce. We searched and searched, Paul dipping the ladle in over and over, but we never caught a glimpse of it and could only assume it melted on impact.

I said to Steve, "Do you want to hear a story from when I was a waitress?"
Steve said, "No. I tell my own stories."

Is that not the most beautiful thing you've ever heard? I threw my head back and laughed so hard, along with Jackie who was standing there cutting Sean's hair, listening to us go on. Doesn't everyone want to say that when someone tries to add their own "better than that" story? So, hey, I shut up and listened to Steve.


rosemary said...

I know I "story up" sometimes....OK, a lot when I leave comments on blogs...I guess someone else's story just trips memories and we like remembering happy, fun things in the past.

Paul Nichols said...

My kinda kid. I can tell you a couple of hair-raising restaurant stories, too, but Steve has the floor, so... I won't sulk about it.

W V: unsulki