DY: In Just a Few Words (#92)
Sometimes I truly cannot believe Karen has stuck with me all these years.
My son Denny – now rapidly approaching AARP membership – was once a really cute little boy.
Even as a young lad Denny was like a lightning rod collecting other people to help with his important work. The little girl next door – Barbara – worked side-by-side with Denny to pick every blossom off my many tulips, gently laying them on the ground for all to see.
Another sidekick was our dog, Thumper. Denny hated the glasses that he had to wear at an especially young age. He would just happen to lose them in our pachysandra not to be seen again. Having no shame, he even threw one pair in the sewer. And his buddy, Thumper, was always happy to eat a pair of Denny’s glasses as an appetizer before a dog food feast. We had WA Jones Optical on the 1968 version of speed dial.
But what we all really remember about young Denny Young was his carrot red hair. That hair was his calling card. (Today, his long gray hair is what stands out.)
One summer when he had just turned two, Denny’s Florida grandmother was coming for a visit. Denny needed a haircut. He must look his very best when we go out the concourse to meet her plane. You could do that in those days.
His mother, AKA Karen, assigned me to take him to the barber. Of course, I took him to my barber, who had always done a good job on me. We got to the barber shop and I slouched into a chair with the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. His grandmother is coming for a visit. Just shorten his hair a bit so he looks good for her arrival. And, I went back to reading SI.
Finally I heard the barber say, All done. I reached for my wallet and stood up. There Denny was, his head full of beautiful red hair reduced to the closest buzz cut I had ever seen, maybe being an eighth of an inch. He looked like a two-year-old Marine in basic training.
I knew I was in big trouble. I put him in the car and we drove around for an hour-and-a-half or so until I pulled up to a pay phone outside a drug store. Karen, an awful thing has happened.... No, we haven’t been in an accident. It's worse than that. Denny’s wonderful red hair is gone. I should have paid more attention when he was getting his haircut, but I confess I was engrossed in a Sports Illustrated article. I wanted to warn you before I brought him home. We’ll be there in about 10 minutes.
My late mother-in-law was so upset she burst into tears at the airport when she saw him. Turns out she had spent the ENTIRE flight from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland bragging about little Denny’s red hair to her seatmate. That hair was now on the barber shop floor. She felt stupid. I felt stupid. Karen felt mad. Denny felt bald.
I have never forgotten this haircut. All that beautiful red hair is but a memory. Yes, it did grow back. But, it’s been replaced now by long gray locks.
That AARP card is out there somewhere in the mail.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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