“Things We Do for Love,” Aug. 18, 2020

Fifteen years ago, I said “yes” to my former editor. Not to work for him. To marry him. Why? Who can explain the things we do for love?

We had worked together for 10 years, then dated for another five. It was a second marriage for us both. He was divorced, I was a widow. We knew the road we’d be traveling together.

But the strength of a marriage is not what you think you know on your wedding day. It’s how you deal with the nagging annoyances that pop up over the years like gophers in a bed of roses.

We’ve survived our share of gophers with no real regrets. We married, of course, for better or for worse. But our wedding vows did not cover haircuts.

One surprising side effect of the coronavirus quarantine is an increase in the growth rate of human hair. Especially for men. This is not a scientific fact, just a simple observation.

In the past six months, I’ve not set foot in a salon and my husband hasn’t been to a barber. In that time, my hair has grown a few inches. And his hair has grown twice as much as mine. I look like I need a haircut. But he looks like a stunt double for Bigfoot.

Or he did. Not any more.

We’ve each dealt differently with our bumper crop of hair. I put mine up in ponytail. And he ordered a set of hedge trimmers. I mean, hair clippers.

“How exactly will you manage to cut your own hair?” I said.

“I won’t,” he said. “You will.”

“HAH!” I laughed. “Not a chance! You would hate it and I’d never hear the end of it!”

He didn’t argue, just went back to watching a Giants’ game on TV, with cardboard cut-out fans in the empty seats behind homeplate. Then the clippers showed up and he tried again.

“C’mon,” he begged, waving the instructions. “I don’t care how it looks. It’ll feel cooler!”

Persuasive, isn’t he?

“Fine!” I said. “Go out on the patio. It’s gonna be a mess!”

I was tempted to start with the nose hair trimmer. Instead I used the attachment for the longest cut. Then a shorter one. Then the shortest.

Hair flew like peach fuzz in a packing shed, enough to line the nest of every buzzard for miles around.

“How’s it lookin’?” he said.

“Hold still!” I snapped. “I need to trim a little more off the back. And the sides. And the, uh, top.”

The clippers hummed like a wood chipper. Finally I stepped back to admire my handiwork and stifled a gasp: Bigfoot, bless his heart, had a buzz cut.

“OK,” I said. “You’re done.”

Running a hand over his head, his eyes got big as hubcaps and he ran inside to the bathroom mirror. I waited for a scream. Instead, when he came back, he seemed strangely calm.

“Well,” he said, scratching his prickly scalp, “it’s cooler.”

I expected complaints, but he’s been pretty good about it, possibly because we’ve had bigger things to think about.

Lately, our typically lovely Carmel Valley weather has seen temperatures climb to 107 or higher, and wildfires are burning all over California.

Last night a storm raged for hours with no rain. Thunder boomed, shaking the earth, and a spectacular display of heat lightning zigzagged across the sky and tap-danced on the hills. It looked like a battle scene from “Star Wars.” We kept watch for fires until 4 a.m., when the storm finally passed. More of the same is forecast for tonight.

Meanwhile, about 10 miles east of us, our neighbors near Salinas are fleeing from a fire that was started by lightning and is burning out of control, threatening lives and homes.

There are always bigger things to think and care about, if we care enough to think about them. A good marriage is like a good life, blessed not by a lack of annoyances, but by a practice of gratitude and an abundance of lovingkindness and grace.

If it’s 107 tomorrow, I might try those clippers on my hair.


  1. Janet Mann says

    I pray that you and yours will be safe. There’s always someone who has it worse than we do I’ve found out. Keep the faith!

  2. Betty McNall says

    LOL. We have been married 59 years this October! His mother got us a hair cutting outfit for our Birthday in June and I had to learn to cut hair and had done so since!

  3. Kim Thirkell says

    I also laughed out loud and then had to read it to my husband. I don’t think I would ever be brave enough to cut his hair – even though there really isn’t much on top anymore. Nice curls on the bottom though. Prayers for you and hope the fires end soon and you are safe.

  4. Kate Sciacca says

    Oh my goodness! You are a brave soul 😀. I’ve gone the ponytail route as well… it works 😉. And son Paul is taking care of dad’s hair…. as for Paul…. well, “he knows a guy who knows a guy..” I’ll say no more than that.
    We just had tremendous thunderstorms an hour or so ago, and they’re headed north. Hoping they put out the 45,000 acre fire up near Loyalton – or at least give the firefighters a bit of a break. Yes, our son who lives in Napa sent us a video of the NorCal “light show” – and another son, in Vacaville, said fires were started this morning up near Lake Berryessa… what a year it has been.
    Glad Papa Mark is enjoying some baseball…. I just cannot watch with no fans and all the other ancillary things going on…. but I’m praying more, so that’s a plus! God bless you dear lady, this too shall pass… I think?????

  5. Sarah Christopher says

    Sharon, I don’t laugh out loud as many things, but this painted a picture in my mind that just made me almost fall out of my chair. You’re the best………writer……. I haven’t seen the haircut yet! Sending lots of love and please try to stay safe.

  6. Your husband must really trust you! And, he must be a good sport. May God protect you and yours in the heat and abundant fires. Praying for all there. Here in WV we’ve had flooding. Hope you get rain soon. God bless and protect the fire fighters!

  7. I pray you and your home will be safe from fires, Sharon~🙏🙏🙏

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