I’ve always enjoyed small town barber shops — usually the price is right and it’s fun to go through the “who are you, stranger?” grilling. Yesterday, feeling a bit shaggy, I asked the operator of the laundromat in Three Rivers, Texas where I could get a haircut — and was not looking for a “foo-foo styling outfit.” She gave me directions to a little one-room operation not far away — where a retired barber (over 80 years old) cuts hair in a little annex off his house.
I drove into his narrow drive, parked behind a Texas pickup, and walked into a museum of Texas artifacts — and attitudes. The guy in the chair was over 80 as well and they were talking “Obamacare” and how their Medicare was going go get cut to pay for abortions, etc. You get the picture: right out of Rush, Glen Beck, and the rest of the wing-nuts. They went on for a bit and I just glanced at a year-old magazine and bit my tongue. Bubba, a local pipeline guy, came in with his pressed jeans and clean shirt — dressed for town. He joined right in but pretty soon, at one point saying, “I don’t know anyone who voted for him — it’s all those kids and Easterners.” I decided that a political debate would get nowhere and kept quiet; soon the subject changed to some local writer who wrote about the area.
The shop was amazing in decor — if you are into stuffed animals. Several big deer heads, a javelina, a bobcat, and a few other critters lined the little space. A Colt 45 was in a case, with a Bowie knife, and all sorts of old posters and paraphernalia. The background music was country/western (big surprise) and the old boy did a good job cutting hair. We talked a little about gas/oil leases, winter Texans (which is what they call snowbirds down here), and where I could get an oil change for the truck.He did the whole nine yards: shave around the edges, lotion, powder, and all for seven bucks.
I told them that our daughter was born over in Beeville, Texas. I didn’t bother to tell them that she’s a MA liberal who works for the American Friends Service. They knew I was from Vermont — it would be fun to have a tape of the conversation once I left the place. Texas is a red state — and man, from everything I’ve heard down here, won’t be changin’ anytime soon.