Monday, April 09, 2012

just a trim

Norman Rockwell could not have composed a more nostalgic scene.

The village barber shop.  Boys on bicycles.  Men deep in conversation.  Listening intently to a ribald tale from Floyd the barber.

I could almost hear the syncopated whistle from the opening of The Andy Griffith Show.

Except, of course, the barber shop was in my little fishing village, instead of North Carolina.  But there was no missing the sense of male camaraderie that coagulates around the barber pole.

This past month I have been paying more attention to these minor sentimentality hooks.  I ran across a Facebook page put together by current and former residents of the Oregon logging town where I spent some of the early years of my life.

When I started this blog, I identified myself as "a boy from Powers."  It was an odd tag because I lived there no more than four years.  My mother was born there, and several relatives lived there long after we left.

The place has a draw on me that is hard to explain.  I am not a person of place.  Never have been.  Even so, I have thoroughly enjoyed joining people I knew as a by on their memory lane saunters.

This is a drawing of two buildings that no longer exist -- except in my mind.  The one on the left is the movie theater.  A building that may as well have been a community center.  Almost everyone was there on the weekends.

The small building on the right is the barber shop.  A place where you could learn all about the best hunting and fishing spots, peek at calendars of girls in oddly-cut coveralls, and get a haircut that would make a second grader look as if he might be auditioning for the role of Dr. Niles Crane.

Every year the Powers exiles join up with those who maintain the flame at the annual town picnic.  It has been several years since I attended.  But I may return this year.  To meet up with some people I have not seen for almost 50 years.

Of course. Nostalgia goes only so far.  I thought the guys at the Melaque barber shop were listening to the barber tell tales.  When I stepped a little closer, I noticed their attention was a bit higher. They were watching a televised soccer match.

And that may be why we are reminded in Ecclesiastes: "Don't ask why the old days were better than now, because that is a foolish question."


jennifer j rose said...

Powers may be a magical place, but how is that your mother was born there "long after we left?" 

Steve Cotton said...

 Perhaps, like Billy Pilgrim, I have come unstuck in time,  Or one of my commas went on a memory lane saunter along with the rest of us.  Thanks for the ever-vigilant editor eye.  It is done.

John Calypso said...

Tomorrow today will be days of the past - all good I think.

Steve Cotton said...

Deep thoughts.

al said...

Had never heard that quote from Ecclesiastes but it makes sense. Of course as you get old and lose your hair there is less and less reason to spend any time at the barber shop.


Steve Cotton said...

But it does not seem exponential, does it? If I were farming a full section and then reduced it to a 5 acre plot, I would have fewer farming chores. But it seems as if I go to the barber just as often (and a number of people would say not often enough) as I did when I was 20.

Mcotton said...

You are not the only one that feels the draw on them from Powers.  There is no other place like it.  Altho' we moved from there in 1958, it is still "Home" to me.

Babsofsanmiguel said...

My gosh you still look like that little boy!  Cool.

Steve Cotton said...

That is perhaps the most disturbing thing I have heard this month. Thanks.