Yield: My Norman Rockwell moment
November 9, 2017
After my two days last week in the alien environment of the big city, it wuz refreshing to get my haircut this week at Richard's Barber Shop in Cottonwood Falls, Kan. It's like going back to the comfortable, uncomplicated days of my childhood living on a diversified farm near Moran and Bronson, Kan.
Richard the barber is about my age. His small barber shop still has the old-time aroma of Rose Fitch hair tonic. The decor consists of an around-the-room collection of car mini-license plates from across the U.S., plus a framed copy of the U.S. Constitution on the wall, about 10 old wooden theater seats for customer seats, a random collection of old and new magazines and newspapers and some musical instruments hanging on the wall.
Richard's shop is very much — as I recollect — the same general decor of the barber shop of my youth in Bronson, operated by "Frog" Robinson, a one-eyed barber (thanks to an errant BB of #8 birdshot from Frog's best friend). As a kid, I loved the fabulous Garst & Thomas seed company outdoor hunting-scene calendars that Frog hung on the walls.
In both shops most of the customers know each other, have compatible political outlooks on life and converse easily amongst themselves.
However, at Richard's shop this week, while I wuz in the barber chair, another elderly customer entered and promptly picked one of the guitars from the wall and began strumming melodic chords of an old-time song. But then, after I had paid for my haircut and beard trim, Richard grabbed up another guitar and serenaded me with the song "Has Anybody Seen my Gal."
Now I ask, where in America can you enjoy a Norman Rockwell moment better than that?
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You'll recall that after my computer fiasco last week, I bought a new one. I thought most of my information had been retrieved from my kaput old hard drive. Well, "most" of the info was retrieved, but not "the most important." Nope, Murphy's Law of Computers dictated that I lost the computer files of all my columns from March, 2016, through September, 2017. So, if I want to have a digitized copy of those columns, I face a winter job of scanning those more-than-a-year lost columns and getting them on my computer again. Thankfully, I always keep a hard copy on paper of all my columns, so I do have the columns to scan this winter. I just don't look forward to the job.
We've had a couple of hard freezes here in the Flint Hills, and it made me dread the months of cold weather ahead. Thankfully, the upland bird and deer hunting seasons ahead make the colder weather a little harder to live with. The bird season opens a week from tomorrow and my Brittany bird dog, Mandy, is full of vim and vigor to go hunting.
I followed the World Series this year for two reasons: (1) Baseball players and owners still respect the national anthem and the American flag, and (2) I wanted the Houston Astros to win the World Series. After the Hurricane Harvey flooding and general devastation, the good folks around Houston deserved a moment of happiness.
To date, I still haven't watched any National Football League professional football games, and I ain't a'gonna until owners, management, and players honor the anthem and the flag. I hope the proposed Veteran's Day boycott of NFL stadiums is a huge success.
Here's a good, funny story sent to me by a faithful reader. It ain't necessarily "rural," but it is funny. Here it is:
Boudreaux, the smoothest-talking Cajun in the Louisiana National Guard, got called up to active duty. Boudreaux's first assignment was in a military induction center. Because he was a good talker, they assigned him the duty of advising new recruits about government benefits, especially the GI insurance to which they were entitled.
The officer in charge soon noticed that Boudreaux was getting a 99 percent sign-up rate for the more expensive supplemental form of GI insurance. This was remarkable, because it cost these low-income recruits $30 per month for the higher coverage, compared to what the government was already providing at no charge. The officer decided he'd sit in the back of the room at the next briefing and observe Boudreaux's sales pitch.
The next morning, Boudreaux stood up before the newest group of inductees and said, "If you has da normal GI insurans an' you goes to war an' gets youself killed, da govment' pays you benefishery $20,000. If you takes out da suppmental insurans, which cost you only t'irty dollars a munt, den da governmen' gots ta pay you benefishery $400,000!
"Now," Boudreaux concluded, "which bunch you tink da governmen' gonna send ta war first?"
In light of the on-going Hollywood scandal on abuse of women, I'll close with a limerick that I think sums the scandal up.
Weinstein, a famous Hollywood dope,
Filled aspiring women with Hollywood hope.
But, in a habit most bizarre.
On movie set, plane, or car,
Weinstein gave them, not fame, but a grope.
Hunker down for winter and have a good 'un.❖