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Sharon Randall: Things we do for love

By Sharon Randall

Fifteen years ago, I said “yes” to my former editor. Not to work for him. To marry him.

Why? Who can explain the things we do for love?

We had worked together for 10 years, then dated for another five. It was a second marriage for us both. He was divorced, I was a widow. We knew the road we’d be traveling together.

But the strength of a marriage is not what you know on your wedding day. It’s how you deal with the nagging annoyances that pop up over the years like gophers in a bed of roses.

We’ve survived our share of gophers with no real regrets. We married, of course, for better or for worse. But our wedding vows did not cover haircuts.

One surprising side effect of the coronavirus quarantine is an increase in the growth rate of human hair. Especially for men.

This is not a scientific fact, just a simple observation. In the past six months, I’ve not set foot in a salon and my husband hasn’t been to a barber. In that time, my hair has grown a few inches. And his hair has grown twice as much as mine. I look like I need a haircut. But he looks like a stunt double for Bigfoot.

Or he did. Not any more.

We’ve each dealt differently with our bumper crop of hair. I put mine up in ponytail. And he ordered a set of hedge trimmers. I mean, hair clippers.

“How exactly will you manage to cut your own hair?” I said.

“I won’t,” he said. “You will.”

“HAH!” I laughed. “Not a chance! You would hate it and I’d never hear the end of it!”

He didn’t argue, just went back to watching a Giants’ game on TV, with cardboard cut-out fans in the empty seats behind home plate. Then the clippers showed up and he tried again.

“C’mon,” he begged, waving the instructions. “I don’t care how it looks. It’ll feel cooler!”

Persuasive, isn’t he?

“Fine!” I said. “Go out on the patio. It’s gonna be a mess!”

I was tempted to start with the nose hair trimmer. Instead I used the attachment for the longest cut. Then a shorter one. Then the shortest. Hair flew like peach fuzz in a packing shed, enough to line the nest of every buzzard for miles around.

“How’s it lookin’?” he said.

“Hold still!” I snapped. “I need to trim a little more off the back. And the sides. And the, uh, top.”

The clippers hummed like a wood chipper. Finally I stepped back to admire my handiwork and stifled a gasp: Bigfoot, bless his heart, had a buzz cut.

“OK,” I said. “You’re done.”

Running a hand over his head, his eyes got big as hubcaps and he ran inside to the bathroom mirror. I waited for a scream. Instead, when he came back, he seemed strangely calm.

“Well,” he said, scratching his prickly scalp, “it’s cooler.”

I expected complaints, but he’s been good pretty about it, possibly because we’ve had bigger things to think about.

Lately, our typically lovely Carmel Valley weather has seen temperatures climb to 107 or higher, and wildfires are burning all over California.

Last night a storm raged for hours with no rain. Thunder boomed, shaking the earth, and a spectacular display of heat lightning zigzagged across the sky and danced on the hills. It looked like a battle scene from “Star Wars.” We kept watch for fires until 4 a.m., when the storm finally passed. More of the same is forecast for tonight.

Meanwhile, about 10 miles east of us, our neighbors near Salinas are fleeing from a fire that was started by lightning and is burning out of control, threatening lives and homes.

There are always bigger things to think and care about, if we care enough to think about them. A good marriage is like a good life, blessed not by a lack of annoyances, but by a practice of gratitude and an abundance of lovingkindness and grace.

If it’s 107 tomorrow, I might try those clippers on my hair.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924, or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.

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