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My Dad, Milk, Straight Razor and Cat

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.


Behold The Future

is what the bigger men's shaving companies probably said when they replaced the old true and tried safety razor. I would add that even an ink pen corporation got into the act with disposable razors. No company mentioned by choice.

I Can Easily Recall

watching my dad perform his daily routine just as he did in the Military. He was up by 5:30 a.m., he fed our livestock, then went about "those" most-treasured moments that only a dad can fully-understand. Quite frankly, he did an awesome job at showing me the right and wrong way to shave the few whiskers from my face. I was scared. But he smiled and said that if I were to toss some sweet milk on my face that our cat could lick off my whiskers. That's all with all dads, or most dads, I believe. Reassuring a young child is one of the best examples that a dad or mom will ever do.

Morning after morning I would plant myself into my place in one of our cane bottom chairs and sit still to watch dad do two things: one, to show me that no matter what we fear, we can lick it. Two, be patient and work slowly. Then I got it. Haste makes waste. I thought myself very proud to have seized that great bit of wisdom.

But did it take? No! Then came "that" one Wednesday afternoon when I got off of the school bus and to find that my parents had not returned from work, so I had to do it. Take charge. Get over the fear of shaving. Dad did it. I can do it. I love self-confidence. We shall see. I almost ran into our living room and in front of dad's medicine chest to where he stored his necessary shaving implements, straight razor, shaving cream in a coffee cup with this neat-looking brush and this thing called a styptic pencil to be used for cuts that bled a lot. Dad took care of everything. He got that from his Military service.


This is How Men

began shaving after the straight razor became just a relic placed in someone's attic. Yes. Men would stand silently in front of their mirror and shave because that was the ritual that has been with most men after they learned to shave.

Then Came My Moment

to be a man. It was my turn to take the bull by the horns. And shave with my dad and the rest of the seasoned men of the world. No sweat, I thought to myself as I splashed hot water onto my face that did sting a bit, but I remember one of dad's old sayings, "no pain. No gain." Right. I think. Now it was time. The showdown. A straight razor in the middle of Dodge City and me, the kid gunslinger just waiting to fire at this razor that had cut so many men. It was my time and no one razor, sharp as they may be, was going to take this fame from me!

My left hand shook as if I were a criminal breaking into someone's home to steal the family's money and valuables. I got hold of my nerves and slowly placed the razor's edge to my face and gently, mind you, gently as if I were patting a newborn baby, I pulled the razor slowly then checked my first time to use this razor. Yeah, I thought. Some bully. And to think that I had feared this thing, this razor for years and I was still standing.

This gently-shaving of my few whiskers lasted for about fifteen minutes. I did not think it prudent to run full-blast to ruin my first shave. Then it came. "That" moment that every new shaver has to face. After washing the face from the remainder of the shaving cream, you get to show your mug into whatever mirror you may be using. I was so happy to be able to look into dad's medicine chest mirror---but as soon as I looked at my smiling face, I began to yell and very loudly. What did I do to cut my face off? Blood spurting almost on every inch of my face. I was in panic mode. I had saw dad take a bottle of after shave lotion, the brand is not important, to not just smell like a man, but to stop the face from burning.

Uhhhh . . .yeah. As soon as the after shave hit my face, it was worse than the cuts that numbered many. But at least the bleeding had stopped. I relaxed. Now when my folks get home from work, I can parade around the house and prove to them that I had made a major milestone in my life. My folks did not notice, but my mom did like my after shave.


Welcome, Antique Enthusiastis

to enjoy what the men's morning shaving ritual began. He would open his straight razor, sharpen the blade with a leather razor strop, lather his face and carefully shave the whiskers from his face. Believe me. Straight razors were sharp. I know. Using my dad's straight razor was what I used to get my first shave. (Kenneth).

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Now For The Ending

of my first "Shaving Episode." I never said one word about almost whacking myface to the skull. No. I could be a man without boasting. But that bit of knowledge was soon shattered when dad said, Ken, I think that is time for you to learn how to shave. Whaaattt? Shave? I was ready to faint. Dad said, come with me. You stand where I stand and do what I do, and you will learn what a man does to shave every morning of his life.

Had dad went looney bugs? Could he not see that I was carrying a butchered face? My hands shook. I remember taking the cup of shaving cream and started to put it on my face when dad said, stop! Do not move! What is this? I knew that my behind was just primed to be kicked. And rightly so because dad and mom did not like for me to do things behind their backs.

Uhhh, dad. I have already shaven! See? Dad looked slowly at my extra-smooth face and the thirteen nicks and cuts, count 'em, thirteen! He looked my face over as he did when he would inspect the guys in his platoon. I never flinched. Then he smiled and said, tell me the truth, did you do this all by yourself? I nodded yes, very quickly. Then dad looked sternly and replied, next time, kid, put the razor on your face with the sharp side so you can shave in safety.

Thanks, dad. I miss and love you.

My Sharp Summary

young guys, listen up. If you want to take the plunge and do your first shave, then get your dad to stand near, but not interfere with this personal milestone. Remember. This moment cannot be repeated. Ever. Your first shave.

I have this bit of advice for you: keep the electric razor or regular razor on the sharp side and be careful. If that doesn't work, see if your dad would mind buying you a cat and a gallon of milk. (Thanks for sharing this memory with me.)

February 26, 2021__________________________________________________

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© 2021 Kenneth Avery


Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on February 28, 2021:

You had a great relationship with your Dad. And seeing how frightening that shaver was, I applaud your bravery, 13 scars and all.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 28, 2021:

What a fun memory milestone for you.

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