Tuesday, June 06, 2017


It was time to get the shaggy look trimmed up. In my retirement one thing that changed was I stretched the time between haircuts. So at times I am a little bit ragged around the ears. The hat hair seems to get worse but I don’t mind. Over the cooler months it feels good. Over the warmer months it has to be trimmed back.

My barber likes to mow. He likes to mow his yard. He likes to mow my hair. He even mows my eyebrows which tickles. But mostly, he is a gentleman and a scholar and we have some very interesting conversations.

Most people think all we talk about is golf or politics. They think that for a reason, of course. I found quite by accident that we’ll talk about anything as long as it’s clean and fun but not politics.

One time, I don’t know how, funeral practices came up in the conversation. The tale went something like: Have you heard of this practice?

Which practice he was referring to I couldn’t tell.

“What?” I said

“Have you heard, I know you know all this kind of stuff, but have you ever heard about going to a graveside and sort of reburying someone by putting pieces of blacktop and concrete on the grave?”

“Never," I said. "Someone must have really wanted to make he or she never came back to life. Must have read too many stories about people in the old days that weren’t really dead but got buried anyway.”

I hadn’t heard that particular tale but I was glad I did. I was in the middle of writing a story and there was a scene with a graveyard and since this was a detective-fiction it needed, it called for, it yearned for such a weirdness as someone who further buries someone just to be sure they don’t come back.

Today at the shop wasn’t much different. I had gone in on a Wednesday after lunch. The shop was almost empty. One of the barbers was just finishing up with another gent so I was next and not ten minutes later the second barber comes in from lunch break. The third barber was on vacation. A golf match was on the television. The paintings along one wall and the fish mounts on the other wall did not seem to ever go together. Maybe that was why they were on different walls.

We got to jabbering about food. In particular, kraut. I don’t know how we got there. Usually we start with polite stuff like “What do you think of this weather?” But somehow we worked away towards some kind of food that I don’t recall talking about and ending up with sauerkraut. The path probably had something to do with gardens then farmers market then longed-for favorite foods. Or maybe it something the wife cooked yesterday that was like what my mom used to make but my sister didn’t like and then it was served at a family meal and he found he liked it!

That was me, I thought. When I was a kid, if I can remember rightly that far back, my mom couldn’t get me to eat kraut on a bet. I apparently have changed.

I think I started eating kraut on corned beef a few years ago for something different from other than another variety of ham or beef or turkey sandwiches and then made the slide to adding kraut on hot dogs. At the farmers market (back when it was a tent city) there was a food cart with the most delicious hot dogs that I found could be genuinely enhanced by sauerkraut. Don’t ask me how it got started because I don’t remember but I was glad it do. 

Our conversation got to going about eating kraut and which brands were better than others, when we first had kraut, and who made the best homemade and what goes best with it. I am not one to buy kraut at the store but apparently one brand is so good, apparently sour enough to make your jaws lock up!

I wish I could remember that brand name. It’ll be a month before I stop by for a hair cut and then I’ll have to remember to ask.


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