I knew my dad went “country” when he bought an old John Deere farm tractor and drove it in the Memorial Day parade (and when he started listening to country music, and when he bought two cows for slaughter).
My grandpa had an agricultural museum in his barn filled with mysterious tools and gadgets from his Depression-era farming life. He’d always ask, “Do you know what this used to do?” Of course I didn’t.
So my rural roots don’t run deep, per se, but they’re there. I do like to keep my garden, and I do think old guys in suspenders and unironic trucker hats performing in a tractor pull is pretty fun.
Turns out Jordan grew up in the town next to mine growing up, attending a rival high school at about the same time.
But it was his alma mater, his wife’s job, and his own first job in the financial world that brought him up to Harbor Springs, Mich. Now? He’s a barber.
In a tourist town like Harbor Springs, about 10 minutes around the bay from Petoskey, Jordan says his Harbor Barber shop does good business. Fifteen customers a day during the winter, and upwards of 40 during the summer.
He says it’s tiring, being on his feet all day, looking down at customers. But the money is good.
“You can still make a good living doing this,” he said.
Just do the math: $15 for a shave and a haircut. Forty customers a day in the summer.
Jordan says the old straight razors could nick a customer, and then transfer some of the blood onto the leather strap. Cross-contamination. So he uses the disposal razors, but treats them in the old-timey way.
The whole old-timey shave is a novelty, he says. Customers, though, enjoy the ritual: the warm towel, putting your feet up, the patient pace of the job.
Some of the guys felt like they could’ve gone to sleep after The Towel Treatment. Especially after a long night of drinking.
The bench comes from the southern part of the state. The stool comes from Georgia, but the metal was manufactured in St. Louis.
One room. One stool. One sink. One customer after the other.