For Thornbird, the Medicine Man of Hair


I just had my hair done, and I am proud to note that the director of Operation Rob, is my hairdresser, Thornbird, a name given over favorite movie, “The Thornbirds.” Don’t ask. I don’t get it either.
In introducing him, I wrote this awhile ago, a lot has changed, but now is the perfect time to post where we were when we met, and how flippin awesome he is.
………………………..
To one looking through the glass of his Roswell hair salon, one might say I was getting a hair cut. I know different. It is almost an unspeakable thing to say how much I love my hairdresser, what he has seen me through and I him, and how we came together, and the story in itself is magical. He has seen me through my divorce in which many heated debates occurred, mostly him burying his head in his hands trying to come up with scenarios in which my marriage could be saved and me furious he would even try to think of something I had not. His girlfriend of two years hated my guts and said we talked way too much and other awful things, all in a foreign language, which women don’t need words when other women hate us. It is all said in body language, in the eyes. Not only windows to our soul, they are clear indicators of someone wishing we might as soon fall through a thirty story window, and fast. The girlfriend wanted a proposal and he kept saying he needed more and more time, something she wouldn’t have hated me so much if she had known how often I took her side, especially when he broke her heart, not giving her the answers she wanted to hear. Don’t be fooled by our friendship either. Proudly, I have brought him many clients, mainly Jeremy, my mother, my brothers, and I dare say he is the most amazing colorist and for the price, I dare anyone to even try to match him.
He is Thornbird, the medicine man of hair.
I write about him tonight because I got my hair done and after catching up on all the latest news and stories, he cut Lola, Kat and Divorcee’s hair to finish with me which always begins with a bunch of teasing, mainly about my dating life. Since I always wanted to have my hair nice before a hot date, he has been the witness to some of the most horrifying experiences of all my 31 years, something he loves to bring up for enjoyment. Something like, “Remember the Rocker who asked you to walk behind him because he thought he was so famous?” and “Whatever happened to the dude you wore the stripper boots for who took you on a hayride?” He thinks he is quite hilarious. I say proudly tonight that I have not been on a single date nor have I hooked up since our last coloring, which was a good few months, and I can see he is amused. He even said I am a different girl, and reminds me of my dating spree of which I would never listen to him, and in his thick Vietnamese accent says kindly, “This is good, Kathy, which is not my name hilarious enough, you getting to know yourself.”
But mainly tonight, I reflect on the girl who many years earlier, was frumpy, poor, devastated, on the brinks of losing everything in the world that mattered. And on top of it, with all the madness, I hated my hair. Girls, you know what I’m talking about. My little girl was about to graduate from Pre K, and I felt ugly, washed up, with nothing to wear, and no money to spend on such things if I had it. I remember crying on the phone, feeling just ridiculous, when my mother suggested I pray to Mary. “Seriously?” ONLY she would.
She assured me it didn’t matter we weren’t Catholic, but I just needed to show God I had a little faith, and Mary had been once a real woman with real hair and why wouldn’t God care about these little things?
I thought she was nuts.
And still, that night I prayed to her, and told her about my hair and how I felt and how sad I was and my pillow was wet with tears still when I woke the next morning.
And yet, I continued on to work, my little shop in Buford that I loved with all my heart had a little Vietnamese man in front of it one day, looking at birds. He was about my age, stylish, friendly, and loved taking breaks he said to look at all the white birds and some day, he said, he wanted to bring bread to share with on his break.
I was too tired to chat but he made it easy. “Do you enjoy working in the nail salon?” I asked. “Yes,” he said, “but my specialty is hair.”
He cut, colored, and blow dried my hair, and now he is in quite a fancy salon, but back then it was in the back room of a ghetto little nail place where his girlfriend got him a dryer and some supplies. I don’t think he even charged me thirty bucks, and he always did my brows and my nails for free, with some ridiculous reason like his “first timers” coupon or such.
And yet, the first time I met him, what brought the tears was after our many hours of discussion, mainly about the meaning of life, God, and love, not the kind of talk for strangers but friends for life, he gave me a gift as I was walking out the salon.
I squeezed it, opened my hand and lost all words.
It was a rosary. A blue beaded rosary with a picture of Mary, and I couldn’t deny that some power greater than myself had taken the time to say that I mattered, that my broken heart and ends were seen in the eyes of God. And if you dare to have a little faith and believe, answers come in all sizes and packages, in this case, an eccentric Vietnamese Catholic friend named Thornbird, the medicine man of hair.

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