I’m at it again, pairing the random recent pruning of our fig tree with a story of my first haircut in a land far away but never forgotten.
In the arc of life, St. Louis, Missouri, was my first hometown; Scottsdale, Arizona, will likely be my last. Beyond this personal connection, they have little in common.
They certainly aren’t Sister Cities. The former is a muggy midwestern city shrinking in population on the banks of the Mississippi River; the latter, a dry western town growing exponentially in the Sonoran Desert.
Though, if you follow NFL franchise history, you know the present-day Arizona Cardinals made their home in St. Louis from 1960 through 1987. As a kid, I rooted for the Big Red there.
Now I cheer for this iteration of the Cardinals here. Regrettably, the team’s promising 2021-22 season faded in December and January. They won’t appear in the Super Bowl. The Bengals and Rams will be featured instead on Sunday.
At this stage of life–when I’m not writing or singing or swimming or exercising or baking or eating or sleeping or following my baseball and football Cardinals (the first still resides in St. Louis)–you might find me giving or getting trims.
Let me be clear. The giving involves me manipulating large garden shears and a hand saw to prune (only occasionally) a few of the fruit trees in our condo community. I even wrote and published a book of stories a year ago, which alludes to this activity in the title.
Anyway, on Tuesday, Tom and I were outside giving trims again. We pruned the fig tree near our front door. It’s an annual thing we do in February. It keeps the tree healthy.
We actually enjoy doing it. It’s a way for us to contribute to the well-being of our condo community and pamper the gnarled tree that provides shade on our hottest summer days.
On the other hand, the getting part of this is a different story. It equates to me sitting in a chair and having a stylist trim my hair with clippers and scissors every six weeks.
Most recently, I had this done two weeks ago at a Super Cuts in Scottsdale. But the first time was August 13, 1958, in St. Louis. I was a little over one year old. Someone named Frank Goetz did the trimming.
How do I know the who, what, when and where of this? My mother kept a detailed baby book of photos and anecdotes from the first seven years of my life.
Inside is a treasure trove of memories: things I would never have known or remembered if she hadn’t taken the time to maintain this personal record. She even kept a lock of my cut blond hair from that day, sealed it in a small envelope, and pasted it on a scrapbook page.
This morning, a day after Tom and I finished giving our fig tree its annual haircut, I pulled out the baby book from our hallway closet. In short order, I stumbled upon this photo.
Isn’t it funny and magical how a grainy black-and-white photo can transport you to another era and instantly pair the scissor cities of your imagined and true-life experiences?