Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cowboy Haircuts

My first five years of childhood were spent in a gang of two, my brother and I as partners in crime unwittingly terrorizing our parents.  Some of our best work occurred while Mom was grocery shopping and Dad was supposed to be watching us but was actually napping.  We dragged the mattress to the stairs then rode it down like it was a sled; we tunneled through bales of hay in the barn; we stuck knives in outlets. 

One day we added baby lotion to the fish bowl.  The reasoning escapes me, but maybe it was as simple as we thought it might make it smell pretty.  Mom was fairly put out at us for that one.  (I don't remember which one of us had the bright idea to add the lotion to the water but I do remember that the fish died.)  We wanted to get back on Mom's good side, so decided to entertain ourselves in the bedroom while she cooled down.

During this unsupervised portion of the evening, my brother -- a creative thinker even at five -- struck entertainment gold when he announced that he would be opening a Cowboy Barbershop and I would be his first customer.  I had way more hair than he did and he had a cowboy hat, so this arrangement made perfect sense to both of us.  After elaborate preparations including the sheet around my neck, shop opened.  By the time Mom discovered us, all the hair below my ear on one side of my head had been meticulously shorn.  She burst into tears.  We were scheduled to have our pictures taken at Olan Mills the next day. 

The years roll by.  Now I'm the mom and little Kate is in the bathroom a long, long, long time.  That she's in there too long should have registered with me, but it didn't.  Suddenly, she bursts through the door, glowing with pride!  She had taken her little safety scissors and scalped herself.  She said, "Now I look like my cousin Levi!"  And she did.

I was laughing so hard I couldn't catch my breath as I dialed Mom's phone number.  "You cried, didn't you?' she asked. 

Same story, two different responses.  That's what makes life so sweet.

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