For nearly four years now, just about every day of the workweek, I've walked once or twice or more past the little white house that is Skidmore's Barber Shop on south G Street. If it was in the afternoons, Mr. Skidmore himself usually would be in there trimming up some gentleman's often already tight mane, getting that annoying tickle off the top of the ears, and they'd be laughing and talking. Sometimes he'd look up and see me walk by, and we'd do the simul-wave and smile.
Now, I'm sure there are Arcatans who've been walking past Skid's shop for decades, and who actually knew him. And I know there is family that cherished him. I didn't know Skid -- but I sure liked him. And his signs, handwritten in tall black-felt letters on a white board he'd prop in the window: Closed For A Few Days, Out Sick. Gone On Wife's Vacation. Gone Fishing, Back In Ten Days. I don't remember them all, or even their exact wording, but they always made me smile, or sigh and worry, and -- either way -- look forward to when that rectangle of glass was free again and tall, good-cheer Skid was again standing at the barber's chair snipping at some gent's head.
But when he placed the Closed For A Long While sign in the window many months ago, and signed it, it felt like a bad sign. Like he wasn't certain he'd be back. And he won't be: The Times-Standard reports that Mr. Glen Ira Skidmore has just plain Gone Away. Heavy, heavy sigh.