Hometown Boy by Duane Dailey
July 16 2014My grandfather Dailey always had his hair cut and a shave on Saturday night. He could have stopped by the barbershop any day. But, he went on the busiest night of the week.Back then, Saturday was when farmers came to town. Every chair in the shop was filled with waiting customers. For granddad, if the wait was long he didn't fret.That meant more stories would be told. Weather and crop news was exchanged. On going political shenanigans would be discussed. It was the place to get the news, before it was in the weekly paper. It always included news that would never make the newspaper.On occasion, I would accompany him. Not for a shave and haircut. I liked hearing the story tellers. Maybe that was the embryonic start of my lifetime career of story-telling and teaching.My grandmother would "have her hair done" at the beauty shoppe. I never sat in on that girl talk. I am sure my education lacks.Beauty and barber shops foreshadowed Facebook and Twitter. They provided faster conduits of hot gossip. Journalism could never keep up in spreading that news.The only medium that could compete was the telephone. This was before cellphones. Even before dial phones. All phones were on party lines. The difference in number of long and short rings notified all who was supposed to pick up the call.This did mean only the person who would pick up the receiver. Only the person for whom the call was directed would answer. The others just listened, clamping their hand over the mouth piece.A central operator was in charge--and that was the best informed person in town. Now, I never thought of this before I wrote that line. But, my granddad may have influenced the phone company. A succession of his daughters, my aunts, held that key job.Nah,surely they never shared their news. However, they are long gone. I'll never know. Did he precede NSA in knowing what went over the telephones?Oh my!I get my hair cut early Saturday morning. I want to beat the rush of mamas bringing boys to be trimmed.I do get the latest conspiracy theories, anyway. This past Saturday, the theory was that the big wind in Columbia Monday night was really a tornado. But, the government won't call it one because that would bring a disaster declaration. Then "the government" would have to pay damage repair. I'd never have know that, it's not in the paper.But, I heard stories of odd damage. I thought I had a good one. My friend Wayne Bailey, MU entomologist, awoke with an oak tree in his bedroom.But, that was a common report.What I could add was one heard Friday. It seems the MU car pool was one of the many isolated spots damaged by the strong storm. Of 62 cars on the lot near Hearnes Field House, all but seven had their windows sucked out. Not blown in but sucked out. The lot surface was covered solid in glass shards.My other tidbit of news was about animal behavior before the storm hit. One dog owner will now pay more attention when her old dog becomes highly agitated and clingy--for no reason. Apparently the dog felt the air pressure drop before we humans knew anything was coming.The storm hit so quickly, no storm sirens sounded.Knowing the inclination of some loyal readers. I won't imply this storm has anything to do with climate change. They say it isn't related to the tons of CO2 we spew into the atmosphere everyday with fuel we burn. Maybe the dog knows.Send your storm theories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send 'em and I'll pass 'em on the next time getting my ears set out. Others can add the conspiracies.