Daze of My Life: Hair Today, Hopefully Tomorrow, Too

Daze of My Life
Hair Today, Hopefully Tomorrow, Too

I probably spend more time in a hair salon than most men. The reason being--every other Saturday I am responsible for driving my mother to her hairdresser, waiting and then driving her back home. (Since my father's first stroke, the task has fallen to me.)
My mother has maintained this bi-weekly salon schedule for as long as I can remember, going on 50 years, first starting in Newton Centre, MA, then moving to Framingham, MA, continuing in Coconut Creek, FL and now in Silver Spring, MD.
For many of those years while she was living in Massachusetts, my mother didn't drive and thus arrangements had to be made. Eventually, my mother learned to drive and even had her own car so the transporting pressure was off. And when my parents moved to Florida, my mother drove herself to the salon there as well. But when they moved to Maryland to be near their children, my mother's driving days ended. She had no bearings and wasn't interested in getting any; my father did the driving. It was pretty much local, but after his stroke, he wasn't driving anymore, obviously.
The new routine, though my parents have a live-in caregiver, Maria, who certainly can drive and does many of their errands, is that I usually take my mother to the salon; my father can't be left alone so Maria stays home with him while I go.
The drive takes about 15 minutes, so it's hardly an ordeal. And when you consider that the salon has courtesy bagels and cream cheese for its Saturday customers, I don't go hungry while I'm waiting. Typically, we leave the house at 12:30 and return home by 2pm, except those weeks when my 84-year-old mother, this past Dec. 5, (Happy Birthday, again, mother) gets color, which she has been getting every six weeks, since before I was born, I think. In fact, I can still remember a conversation I had with her about this very subject.
I was in high school at the time, a time when my friends' mothers were beginning to go gray, which I knew, from conversations with them or by hanging around their houses. And though I certainly knew of my own mother's bi-weekly standing appointment at her salon, I still felt compelled to ask her one day if she was ever going to go gray. "Go gray," she laughed, "what do you think I've been doing at the salon for the past 10 years? I get color every six weeks."
"Really," I gushed cluelessly, "I had no idea." And so I learned once and for all, and hear I am, 40 years later, continuing a routine that began nearly a half century ago.
And so, every two weeks, I find myself sitting in my mother's salon; reading, writing, eating and people-watching. Other than being home or at work or at my parent's house, there's no other place where I spend as much time.
Occasionally, I'll leave the salon to run some local errands; there's a Shopper's Food Warehouse and a Petsmart in the shopping center, but more often than not, I will simply sit and wait.
Given that my parents were already in the 80s when they moved north to Maryland, my brother Richard and I certainly anticipated that they would experience some medical problems but still, until it happens, and of course you can't ever know the medical degree to which it will happen, you sort of have to go with the flow. And the flow with which we've been going is, attempting to maintain as much normalcy in their lives as is practical, all things considered, and my mother's hair salon appointment certainly qualifies.
So we go, on alternating Saturdays. It's sort of an outing for my mother. And not that she is the least bit vain; she isn't, it's more that, considering my father's non-ambulatory and visually-impaired condition, her life is difficult enough at home and getting her away from her in-house routine we feel is positive. And though things have certainly changed in her life, since their move north and my father's stroke, my brother and I both feel, the more things can stay the same, the better all of our lives will be.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.