We always got our hair cut on Tuesday.
Our aunt gave all the cousins haircuts,
even giving me the tight curl perms I thought were a good idea in the 80’s.
Her shop is a small brick building with a big glass window facing the street.
On Tuesdays, she worked there alone,
giving us a chance to catch up on family news uninterrupted.
We always entered through the back door. Like family.
While my brother took his turn, I’d sit in the other chair,
swirling around and around. Not too fast now.
We had the place to ourselves.
Well, us and the Abbott family from Genoa City
(CBS soaps always provided background noise).
I’ve never found someone who cut my hair
with the same amount of love and care as my aunt did.
Growing up eight miles outside of town,
we often found ourselves with a few hours in between errands.
Not enough time to drive back home and get anything done,
so we’d stop in at my other aunt’s house.
The back door was never locked. Neither was the front,
but most of the time we went in the back.
Up the wooden steps, holding on to the handrail,
even when it was a little wobbly.
My uncle often had something baked-from-scratch on the kitchen counter;
Texas Sheet Cake if I was lucky.
When they moved into a new-to-them house a few years back,
I knew my mind would never forget the house number 1122.
Stubbornly, I refuse to memorize the new address.
One, a place of business.
The other, a house that now belongs to someone else.
Two back doors where I always knew I entered not as a customer or a guest,
but as family.
These women helped raise me.
All those years, watching them live their everyday lives,
they taught me almost everything I know.
Side by side with their sister - my mom -
looking out for a whole motley crew of boys and girls.
Cousins whose lives are forever intertwined, no matter how many miles apart.
That’s an awful lot of haircuts.