03 November 2010

The Hub Of Power In Honeoye

HUN-ee-oy is how you pronounce that word.  Honeoye is an Iroquois word meaning "a lying finger" or "where the finger lies."  I know this is true because I looked it up on Wikipedia.  The town of Honeoye sits on the north shore of Honeoye Lake which feeds Honeoye Creek which flows through the town of Honeoye Falls, where I grew up and went to school.  Honeoye Falls is a long ways from Honeoye, probably a good fifteen to eighteen miles (I'm too lazy to look it up just now), a little known fact which has repeatedly led me to have this conversation:
    Stupid Person: Where are you from?
    Me:  Honeoye Falls.
    Stupid Person:  Wow.  And you drive all the way here?
    Me:  Umm, yeah.  It's all of twelve miles or so.
    Stupid Person:  Yeah, right.  It's like fifty miles away.
    Me:  No,  you're thinking of Honeoye, which is about twenty-five miles away.
    Stupid Person:  Oh, really?  Are you sure?
    Me:  Yeah.  I grew up in Honeoye Falls.  You're thinking of Honeoye.
    Stupid Person:  Yeah, Honeoye, Honeoye Falls.  Same thing.
    Me:  No, they're actually two separate towns.  I would tell you how far apart they are but I am too lazy to look it up just now.
    Stupid Person:  Oh.  Gosh, now I feel stupid (they never say this!).

Honeoye is not a big town nor particularly ornate.  No big houses on Main Street, no nice side streets lined with elm trees, no solid block of interconnected brick buildings as its business center, but it does have a lake, and a main strip, and a barbershop.  There are some nice houses in Honeoye but they're more here and there than most Western New York towns.  The barbershop is part of the main drag in town, with an old fashioned barber pole and a storefront walkway that looks like it was made to hitch your horse to.  I mentioned to my dad that I needed to get my haircut and he called me and mentioned this place.  "I'll take you down to Ralphie Angelo's."  This seemed more like a foregone conclusion than a suggestion.  Ralph Angelo is known for his hunting dogs and his barbershop.  His shop is next door to Ace's Restaurant, for years the best place around to get a fish fry.  The town didn't look like much on a Wednesday afternoon in April but I think that on a summertime Friday evening, when people are renting houses and enjoying the lake, it might have a bit going on.

My dad called Ralph ahead of time to make sure he was open.  "Yeah, I'm open every day except Sundays.  If I'm not there when you get there, just wait.  I probably ran over to the town hall."  Sure enough, I walked in and no one was there except for a couple guys waiting.  What kind of proprietor, I thought, leaves his business and leaves it open in the middle of the day?  I thought that was pretty cool.  When I sat down in the chair Ralph didn't ask me how I wanted my hair cut but he did ask to see the monster buck I shot last year.  How did he know me and how did he know I shot a monster buck?  Well, he knew I was coming, knew who I was, and heard from my cousin about my trophy deer.  Then he clipped my hair like he was Edward Scissorhands.  After that he put shaving cream around my ears and on my neck and shaved it with a straight razor.  A straight razor!  Definitely old school.

When I was done I paid him and gave him a fifty percent tip (it was only an eight dollar haircut).  I was impressed: the barber pole, the straight razor, the Edward Scissorhands-like efficiency.  I left and told my dad about Ralph being late and asking me about my deer.  "There was nobody in there?  Really?  Usually the boys are there hanging out."  Oh, I thought, I get it.  Ralph's was like the old barbershops where the boys went to hang out.  It made sense.  "Yeah, I think Ralph is the Town Supervisor.  And, I'm not sure, but I think he's also the head of the schoolboard."  Now it really made sense.  The town that gave me a Mayberry vibe was actually old-fashioned enough to have its hub of power centered in the barber shop.

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