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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Monday, July 2, 2012
My mother phoned before 6 a.m. and said she wanted to wake me the way I woke her 51 years ago. A little after 2 a.m., in a backwater hospital in a backwater town, I came into the world. I have been apologizing ever since. I apologize for this blog, in fact. It seems a bit presumptive, but here goes.

Ernest Hemingway committed suicide on the same morning. Morbid, I know. I like to think it was the same hour, that in some intuitive way Papa rose from his bed and made his way downstairs in that Ketchum, Idaho home, knowing there was someone to take his place. He could end his own life now, with assurance some other storyteller would pick up the mantle.

It was probably more of a drunken stupor or perhaps just the depression that propelled him. The illness his father died from. Maybe the fact that he couldn’t write anymore. He was only 61, about to turn 62. I’m only ten years from that age.

I’m going to ramble today without the constraints of a theme or topic. My apologies.

I got my haircut yesterday and had two thoughts: 1. I wish I could go back to that red, metal chair of my youth and experience another haircut from my father, something I hated as a kid. 2. I wish I could have a do-over with the hair stylist who worked in Barboursville, WV that I always went to after my father was summarily left behind.

Maybe the theme is what you would change in your life after 51 years. Or whom you would find and apologize to.

Back to the young lady in WV. I did not know how to get a haircut outside of sitting down and having my father scalp me, but I knew I needed to learn, so off to the beauty shop I went, meandering toward Barboursville for some reason. I walked into the shop and sat down in front of a strikingly beautiful young woman. She had long, flowing blond hair, kind of like Farrah Fawcett in the poster. Curls here and there. A pretty face. I told her how I wanted it cut and tried to relax as she went to work, her delicate fingers roaming, clipping.

After that, I went back to her each time, requesting her by name, though I can’t recall it now, or the specifics of her face, I remember she had two eyes and a forehead that creased every time I walked in. She began to passively aggressively cut my hair as her anger and frustration leaked. It was as if my very presence angered her and I couldn’t understand it. Perhaps I reminded her of someone in her past. Perhaps she’d had a troubled childhood.

My father never got angry at me, except when I’d hide when haircut time came. He let me go last in the haircut line, my older brothers going first, and by then the clippers were white-hot and ready for branding. I had sensitive ears. No, seriously, I could hear so well because they were big—like those radar things—the big dishes that scan back and forth for life on other planets. But noises next to my ear were painful, especially when Lou Anne Hayes screamed piercingly next to my head just for fun in the second grade. I was gunshy with girls after that day. It’s probably why I married an alto. Well, one reason.

By the time my hair was ready for shearing, the clippers my dad had, that weighed probably 40 pounds, would start to cack and buzz and fritz with a noise that stung like a hornet. I would jerk back and he’d tell me to sit still and I would try, I really would, counting the seconds there in the basement until this indignity was over and I could go outside and play.

My hair is gray now. Seriously gray. I watched it fall yesterday as the young woman with the pierced nose and the tattoos she delicately covered with a shawl leaked through. She was talking with her friends about the take-out they ordered and how much it would cost and if they should get the jalapeno poppers and who was going to pick it up. She didn’t ask me how I was doing or if I had anything planned for the 4th or how many children I had or if I’d been born on the day Ernest Hemingway grabbed a shotgun and I was glad. And I knew if she’d have started the conversation I would have spilled my whole life to her and then apologized.

Sandy. I think her name was Sandy. Or maybe Sandee. Or Saundeae and she pronounced it Sandy. If I had the chance, I would go back to her, find her. She’s probably in her 50s now with children and colitis. I don’t think she smoked, so probably not lung cancer. Probably married to a nice guy who made her happy who is not a writer but a doer, a work-at-life-with-your-hands kind of guy. Drives big machines or cuts lumber and likes to hunt on the weekends or fish while she gets her nails done and thinks of the dorky guy with the glasses as thick as coke bottles who never gave her a tip because he’d never been to the beauty shop before and his dad had always cut his hair. How could she know something like that? I would have been mad too. But I guess if I could tell her I’m sorry, I would. I’d apologize and tell her I simply didn’t know you were supposed to tip and that because of her I probably tip too much now because I think of her every time I get my haircut.

And I think of him, too, and that I never tipped him either. My dad. But he never got mad about it.


Nicole said...

First of all, you're a far better writer than Hemingway, Chris.

Secondly, you can ramble all day in my world. I'd read every word because the prose is always lovely and the message always profound. Without even trying.

Nicole said...

(Oh, and you were also born on the birthday of my oldest son Donovan and my BFF Debbie.)

Unknown said...

Made me smile and remember the haircuts of my youth. My Mom wielded those clippers. I still am tense in a barbers chair... almost as bad as going to the dentist... well, no not really... but certainly not a favorite thing. Thanks for stirring the memory pot!

Karen King said...

Oh, the memories of Lou Anne Hayes. She used to come to our house and stomp, stomp, stomp in her majorette boots, just for the fun of it, of course. She was a noisy little thing, wasn't she? LOL

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Chris!! God bless you and yours. Love the program.

Anonymous said...

Chris you are a light in my darkness. God has so blessed you with the ability to put words down so they touch the soul. Thank you.

Suzanne Evans said...

Amazing writing. I love how you stretched your story out, and how the hair cut lady became less attractive physically and more sympathetic emotionally, and how the reason for her anger became apparent at the end. I love your strong, sad identification with Hemingway. I love that your dad didn't get mad even though you, in retrospect, knew he could have. The strings and tangles of your writing all came together so beautifully. I think I'm going to cry.