I get my haircuts at a barber shop in beautiful, downtown Cottonwood Falls, owned and operated by ol’ Buzz dePate. I love to get my hair cut there because it’s a shop that ferries my mind back to my childhood — one barber, the walls lined with old state license plates, the familiar smells, old magazines galore of every description, and lots of good conversation to complement a good haircut.
However, when I got my haircut yesterday, something funny happened that readers of my age will identify with. First, since I have a super-abundance of okra from my garden, and have given friends and family all the okra they can stand, I took a small ice chest full of fresh okra to ol’ Buzz, just in case he wanted to fry, freeze or pickle it for him and his wife.
Turns out, Buzz is an okra neophyte. He admitted he didn’t know about okra’s taste or how to prepare it. I told him I’d give him an impromptu lesson on okra when he finished cutting my hair.
Then, while I was in the barber chair, Buzz and I engaged in a lively conversation that hit on politics, sports and the sad circumstance of Alzheimer/dementia that has afflicted a growing number of our friends. Buzz and I agreed that we hoped we could escape the curse of that dreaded disease during our remaining lifetimes.
Well, when we finished the haircut, I exited the chair and went immediately to the ice chest of okra and Buzz followed me to get his “okra education.” That took a couple of minutes, after which I left the shop.
It wuzn’t until I was well on my way back to Damphewmore Acres that it struck me that I’d failed to pay Buzz for my haircut — and that he’d failed to remind me I needed to pay him.
Guess maybe those little lapses of memory of our part proves that our mental faculties are fading into the sunset whether we like it or not. Now I hope I can remember to stop in the barber shop and pay Buzz the next time I go to town.
The rifle hunting seasons are gradually approaching and I heard a story, supposedly true, about two young prospective hunters who decided to get their rifles in good working order before the seasons open— and, for good measure, do a little target shooting to make sure their scopes were zeroed in.
Their first step wuz to clean and oil their hunting weapons. They did so and never scrimped on the oil.
The second step wuz to take their guns to a safe shooting spot and zero in their scopes. One guy had no trouble, but his would-be hunting companion couldn’t seem to get his scope focused sharply.
That’s when the buddy picks up his friend’s rifle and looks down through the scope. Sure enuf, it wuz fuzzy. But then he took a closer look and said to his buddy, “your scope lenses have got something smeared all over them. Know what it is?”
The first guy replied, “Sure. It’s oil. I oiled the scope, too.”
I hope that story isn’t true, but it sure could be.
Here’s a whimsical little story that I enjoyed. A conservative Kansas farmer of advancing age takes a well-earned vacation to the sunny beaches of Florida. As he enjoys an evening walk along a sparkling beach, he stubs his toe on a bottle partially buried in the sand. He picks up the lamp and gives it a rub.
Much to his surprise, a genie appears and tells the retired farmer he will granted the retiree one wish.
The farmer thinks but for a moment and says, “I want to live forever.”
“Sorry,” says the genie, “I’m not allowed to grant eternal life.”
The farmer rubbed his stubbled chin another moment, wrapped his gnarled hands in his overall straps, and replied, “OK, then, I want to die after Congress and the President balance the budget, eliminate the debt, stop wars, and gets the economy back on a growth track.”
With a sigh, the genie replies, “You’re a pretty crafty fellow.”
Speaking of clothing, my good friend C. Faren Wyde recently returned from a short vacation to New York City, where he and his lovely wife attended a Broadway show in which his sister-in-law played some role in producing. Before Faren left for the Big Apple, I teased him about all the big city culture he wuz gonna absorb on the trip.
So, when he returned home, I called Faren and said I understood that he wuz gonna start a Chase County Culture Club and I wanted to know the qualifications to join. Faren replied that I could never be eligible becuz I make a habit of spending the summers outdoors wearing gum boots, bermuda shorts, and shirts with the sleeves cut out.
The sad thing is, Faren is absolutely correct. I’d never fit into a culture club.
I’ll close with a few words of supposed-wisdom about culture. Some author named Roger Zelazny missed the point entirely. He said: “There’s no such thing as civilization (culture). The word just means the art of living in cities.”
I’d have to disagree with him. I think the experience of rural living in the Flint Hills is the finest culture of them all.
Have a good ’un. ❖