Though he is long gone, Mr. Gardner’s barbershop is still in operation today and I recently visited that barbershop for nostalgic reasons, my first time in decades. The three original chairs are still there, but only one (Mr. Gardner’s original chair, in the front window of the shop) had a razor strap hanging on it. Butterflies.
I introduced myself to the one barber who was there and told him my history with the shop. He appeared to be perhaps younger than me. He told me he was the son of one of the other two barbers who worked with Mr. Gardner. I told him I remembered his dad. He told me to feel free to have a look around. Not much had changed. I noted to him that I remembered his dad as a friendly, nice guy. He laughed and added, “Yes, he was. After Mr. Gardner retired my dad bought the shop and the first chair (in the window) became his. I also moved dad’s strop from his former chair to this chair, so that’s my dad’s original strop. My brothers and I became well acquainted with that strop. Even my nice guy dad had limits and didn’t hesitate to borrow it to take home when my brothers or I needed ‘tending to’ as he used to call it. You’re about my age so I suspect you know what that means.”
“Yeah, you all got lickings with that razor strap.”
“Sure did, we were hellions and that strop saw plenty of double duty on our butts. Believe me, there are hazards to having a dad who is a barber.” We both laughed.