>When the shop first opened, I dreamed of advertising campaigns that would put the salon downstairs on the map. Mom declined, saying that it was just a fun way to make a little extra money. She didn’t want to charge $10 for a haircut like they do in the next town over. Besides, the town gossip up the road wouldn’t pay that much for a haircut anyway. The bottle of uber-red coloring would become a mainstay, as would the stories of the “Little Golden Vest” and the annual delivery of only slightly edible Christmas Kuchen.

Trips to the beauty supply store for the not-found-in-nature red also resulted in shampoos and hairspray that weren’t available to the masses. Concentrated shampoo! Amazing “dandruff treatments” that magically left blond highlights! Mysterious blue liquids required by the state!

The omnipresent glass container of blue liquid was no match for the gray swivel chair at the Country Charm Beauty Salon. I can’t remember if the chair was purchased before or after the namesake sign at the craft fair. The chair sits in my teeny hometown’s only beauty salon. My mom, its owner. The light gray chair has seen many transitions and has heard many stories. If chairs could talk, I’m sure I’d be hiding somewhere right now. As would nearly everyone reading this.

When we were growing up, my sisters and I would sneak downstairs to take turns spinning each other around in the chair. Spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning while Mom read or took a nap. We’d be listening for her footsteps upstairs so we’d know when to stop. I can only imagine how loud we must have seemed running around upstairs when she was working in the shop. On more than one occasion, she’d come upstairs with comb in hand to point at us and tell us to “Knock it off!” Occasionally her customer’s kids would come upstairs to play and afford the other moms some quiet.

Sometimes we’d go down in the shop to sit and watch her work her magic and listen to the neighbors gossip while Mom would nod or shake her head along with the story. Only the gems would be retold over supper or while washing dishes. The ladies’ stories would travel from one appointment to the next, as the regulars would start overlapping to join in on the conversation. I’m sure a few of our stories would enter the mix as we moved through high school, then college and into new cities.

The regular customers headed into the next town for their weekly appointment when she recently closed the shop for a couple of weeks to become a Grandma. They made it through unfazed and came back for their usual appointments. Mom closed the shop for good on Friday, as Dad has retired and the shop was the only thing keeping them from travel. I’m sure the sign will eventually come down and my dreams of advertising in the county paper will subside at some point. Many of the customers-turned-friends have asked if they can still drop by every once in awhile. Hopefully we’ll still get preferred seating in the light gray chair at Mom’s salon for a trim and a little conversation, in exchange for sweeping the floor afterward.

Happy Mother’s Day, JP!
Remember, you are loved.

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