Friday, August 24, 2007

Barbershop is Open

No, I do not have formal training in cutting hair. I have memories of my Dad cutting my brother’s hair and sometimes trimming up mine and my mother’s. Maybe it was watching Dad that gave me the confidence to become a shade tree barber.

I have one steady client, Dan. Early on I cut our kid’s hair. I remember reading how to cut a little girl hairstyle that would frame a face. You pull all the hair up on top of the head and make one cut straight across. Sure enough, it was perfect. I didn’t last long with the kids, though. For some reason, they didn’t have confidence in my ability.

Dan, on the other hand, has all the confidence in the world in my ability. I have suggested that he might want to go to a barber occasionally. Absolutely not. He likes the way I cut his hair.

My instruments over the years have consisted of a comb, small barber scissors and an electric clipper. In recent years my son and son-in-law have “guards” that they put on a clipper and proceed to run it over their heads. Our grandboys have this type of cut in the summer also. Not to be left out, Dan purchased guards for our clipper. One time he decided he needed a haircut. I guess I didn’t get to it fast enough because he did the guard on the clipper cut himself. Thankfully, he is back to my cuts. They look better.

I started cutting Dan’s hair when we were married. We’ve been married 41 years. If I gave him a cut every six weeks, it would be around 350 cuts. Let's say each cut cost $5, that would be $1,750 so far we have saved in haircut costs. We have commented over the years that someday we would take the savings on haircuts and go on a cruise to Alaska. We’re getting close.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Butterflies

Dr. Chip at KU Monarch Watch sent me several pictures of the gardens and butterflies. Check them out here

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Towing

Over the years of mail delivery, we have towed vehicles many times. I drive nearly 100 miles a day and about 80 of those are on gravel. It is hard on vehicles. We belong to a professional towing service, but waiting for a truck to arrive out in the country never seems to be an option.

We have always used a nylon tow strap when we tow, which allows some give or bounce. When it is time to stop, both tower and towee break together hopefully keeping the tow strap taut, otherwise there is a lot of jerking.

The most dreaded tow job is trying to get something started—like a tractor. It usually involves frustration. Pulling someone out of a ditch or snowdrift is a good way to get rear-ended if everyone involved isn't careful.

My all time worst towing experience involves ice. Dan had driven a small VW pickup to Overbrook. He hit a patch of ice, went in the ditch and did something to the radiator. We had to get the pickup home, we towed—yes, I was in the back.

The road to Overbrook has a very long hill, at least a half mile long. We had to go down that hill to get home. We didn’t realize the hill, which faced north, still had ice on it. We started slow at the top. But, as we continued down, Dan had to speed up rather than use the brakes because of the ice. I don’t know for sure what would have happened had I put on my brakes, but it would not have been good. So, Dan had no choice but to gather speed to keep the tow strap tight as we descended the hill. I remember not knowing when we reached the bottom. I was hanging on to the steering wheel with my eyes shut.

Several years ago, we bought a dolly. A wise purchase.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The dreaded breakdown

The heat wore my little truck down today. The fact that it has over 200,000 miles didn’t help.

About two hours into the route, I walk to the door with an elderly gentleman’s mail. I turned the key to start the truck--click. The dreaded breakdown. It happens about once a year.

I am down in a small valley where there is shade, but no air. I call Dan and he is home and will bring my backup car as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I wait and stew. This self portrait shows my frustration.


Dan arrived with my car, we transferred mail and I took him back home. Then back to the route. I only lost about 45 minutes. Thankfully, Dan was able to help.

I finished the route and home when Dan called. He was trying to get the truck up on the car dolly and was frustrated. So, it was back to the place the truck originally failed.

I laughed as I followed Dan towing my mail truck backward with the US MAIL sign blinking on top. If any of my customer friends saw us, it will inspire comments the next time I meet them at their mailbox.

At least I didn’t have ride in the truck while it was being towed. Tomorrow I will tell how I almost met my Maker while riding in a towed VW pickup.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Man's life story to be focus of movie"

I was touched by an article in the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle written by Dena O’Dell.

O’Dell writes, “One man's desire to change an unfair law in the 1970s, led him to become a national spokesperson for people all over the world with disabilities.” Richard Pimentel was the keynote speaker at the Thursday morning Chapman High School in-service day. He told about his friendship with Art Honeyman--a man with cerebral palsy and disabled. Pimentel was also disabled from a Vietnam war injury. His speech was a moving account of how they were able to change laws.

Click on the headline to read entire article.