Life is chaotic. I know that’s not news but it its something that I realize over and over again. There’s something awfully disappointing in human nature that forces me to admit that each time I am struck with the thought that “Hey, life is a mess!” it’s something of a surprise to me. My optimistic nature would like to believe that I’m not in the self-deluding cycle of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football again while Lucy will once again pull it away at the last minute. Instead, I’d like to believe that there is a longing in all of us for the “way things SHOULD be.” It’s a longing put there by the imprint of a creator who will one day set things right once again.
Okay, that’s enough philosophy. The bottom line is that it’s summer riding season. That means the cold, the rain, the bad news, the sad news, the teenage graduation angst, have all come to an end. It’s behind us now and it’s time to hit the road and start having adventures.
First order of business – clean up. Like a bear coming out of hibernation (except not in a cave, more behind a laptop) I was ready for a good grooming session.
My gateway road to the mountains often takes me through the town of Jasper, Georgia. Being an aficionado of Barber Shops I’ve noticed the Jasper Old Fashioned Barber Shop as I was motoring by for parts further north. This time I stopped, parked, and climbed the stairs into a refreshing introduction to summer. It began with a hug from proprietor Mary Caraway. Unexpected in an old fashioned barber shop, but extremely welcome.
Mary invited me to help myself to the coffee, and to look around her shop, a remodeled house filled with veterans pictures, letters, and keepsakes. While I browsed the amazing collection, two local residents welcomed me into their conversation which ranged from “culture is going down like the Titanic II” to “You know it’s all worth it if we can leave something for our kids.” That houseful of barbers and residents and visitors is a real icon of what is best in America.
Misty, Mary’s daughter, expertly gave me my first (and certainly not my last) barber shop shave. As I laid back to have my face covered in steaming hot towels, I listened to the fast paced talk about health of loved ones, financial plans, vacation dreams, and good-natured sarcasm. Breathing in the aftershave, hair tonic, and skin conditioner along with the peace, kindness, and patience that filled the small rooms was a complete reset for my spirit. Not only did I leave a lot of hair behind, but I left a lot of worries, tension, and clouded vision. If you’re ever in Jasper, Georgia and find yourself in need of a haircut, shave, cup of coffee, or a hug, I highly recommend the Old Fashioned Barber Shop.
It was a great start to summer. I feel clean.