Everybody has a story: Shaving lesson leads to precious moment




It was a bright sunny day in the summer of 1956. I was only weeks away from my 16th birthday and was wondering if I was every going to see any kind of whisker on my face. Some of my friends were shaving at least once or twice a week.

On this particular day, while helping my dad with the garden, he motioned for me to come closer. He said, “You know, son, it looks to me like you could use a shave.” Wow, I thought maybe he saw some whiskers I didn’t see! “Let’s go into the house and I will show you how to shave,” he said.

I was eager and ready for this. After shaving cream and a new blade, I began to shave per Dad’s instructions (all he said was go slow and careful). Afterwards he said, “Here, use some of my aftershave lotion.”

I probably used too much, but I didn’t care. I thought to myself, this is a very special day.

Years later, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My brother and I would stop by our parents’ home nearly every day to see what we could do for Dad and Mom. Mom was trying her best to keep Dad comfortable. But as the days went by Dad was getting very weak.

One day he was lying on the couch with the TV on. He motioned for me to come closer. I leaned down to see what he wanted. He asked me in a weak whisper, “Son, could you give me a shave?” He hadn’t shaved in several days.

“Sure, Dad, I’ll give you a shave.”

I came back with a warm washcloth to place on his whiskers, and then gathered his shaving supplies. As I was putting shave cream on his face, he closed his eyes and seemed relaxed.

As I carefully shaved him, I was remembering what a hardworking, tough man he was while I was growing up. He worked mostly in steel mills with strong, worn, calloused hands.

When I finished with his shave I got a new warm cloth to clean his face. He said, “Thanks, son, that feels better.”

My father passed away a few days later. I was so fortunate to be able to give him his last shave.

These really were two shaves worth remembering.

Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. Send to: neighbors@columbian.com or P.O. Box 180, Vancouver WA, 98666. Call “Everybody Has an Editor” Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.