Persons, places and things: A hair-raising experience


By Barb Arland-Fye

Nearly eight weeks into the coronavirus crisis, I gave into temptation and clipped my own hair bangs. Previous attempts proved disastrous. I had to live with the results until the next visit with my hair stylist, Judy, to fix the disaster. Last Saturday night, the irritation of hair hanging too close to my eyes compelled me to take action because haircuts at the salon are considered nonessential. The results were nothing short of a miracle. I posted a photo on Facebook with an online confession to Judy, who commented “Looks good, Barb!”


On Sunday, my younger son Patrick arrived at the house for a visit while I was out on a bike ride and cut his bangs because they bothered his eyes. The butchered bangs required correction, ASAP. Patrick allowed me to try to fix his bangs and trim the hair hanging over his ears. We walked from the kitchen into the bathroom to inspect the results in the mirror. Both of us laughed so hard that I developed hiccups. I said a little prayer prior to cutting Patrick’s hair but the Holy Spirit apparently had far more pressing concerns to deal with during this challenging, deadly serious pandemic. Patrick told me that Judy once advised him, “Never let your mother cut your hair.”

Patrick counted his blessings instead of focusing on the flawed haircut. He said he is grateful to have a full-time job when millions are out of work because of the coronavirus crisis. He is grateful to have a family to visit when some people must endure isolation because they contracted the coronavirus or are at grave risk if they become ill with it. He thinks about families struggling to juggle work and home schooling. He thinks about workers in essential jobs who risk their health so that we have food on the table, gas in the tank, emergency responders and health care providers, utilities and other necessities to live in these uncertain times.


“It’s nice that you were able to cut my hair because I can’t cut it,” he told me, grateful to turn to family for assistance, even imperfect assistance! He plans to wear a hat to work to cover up his crooked haircut.

I called my brother, Tim, to ask him about a hair-cutting memory from our high school years. He graduated from a Catholic military high school with strict requirements regarding haircuts. “Do you remember when I cut your hair for one of your inspections?” I asked. He did not remember, thankfully, because as I recall he was not pleased with the results!

Tim also has to cut his own hair, which he sees as a small price to pay as many Americans strive to protect one another from contracting the highly contagious, mysterious coronavirus. He runs a business and is committed to ensuring his employees will feel safe when they return to the office.

Our hair-raising tale has a final chapter. On Sunday, my older son, Colin, shaved part of his head, one of the quirky things he occasionally does as a person with autism. My husband fixed the odd look by shaving the rest of Colin’s head. If he wanted short hair, he’s got it now! Maybe that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in, helping us to see a bit of humor in very trying times.

(Contact Barb Arland-Fye at

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