BURLEY — Denton Darrington slid into Bob Beaver’s barber chair for the last time on Thursday and began telling tales from more than five decades of haircuts he’d received in that room.
With the hands on the clock making their way toward 5 p.m., Beaver shook out a barber’s gown and placed it around the former Idaho senator’s neck.
Balloons with messages for a happy retirement bobbed on the air currents as Beaver, 78, deftly began moving hair clippers along Darrington’s scalp.
Darrington had requested Beaver’s last slot on his final day.
“Yeah, I’m going to miss him, but he’s got that guy there,” Darrington said gesturing to Andrew Grumbein, who was cutting a man’s hair behind them. Grumbein will take over the barber shop and Beaver’s customers.
“But it’s going to take years to break him in,” Darrington said as a wide grin spread across his face.
Darrington knew Beaver from high school, even though he went to Declo and Beaver attended Burley.
“Everybody knew Bob Beaver from dragging Main Street,” Darrington said.
For 47 years, Ron Quesnell, who worked a couple of doors down, would pop in for a cut and for a bit of conversation.
“He knows everyone’s name and you never had to tell him how you wanted your hair cut,” Quesnell said. “He just remembered.”
During his more than 56 years as a barber, Beaver has done it all, from Beatle’s era shaggy to military flattops, which cost a mere dollar more than a standard cut.
“I don’t think they could come up with something that I haven’t done,” Beaver said.
A good barber needs two traits: a desire to do it and good eye-hand coordination, Beaver said. “You have to be able to look at somebody’s hair to see what it will do, do what they want done with it and make your hands do what you want them to do.”
Beaver’s eyes grew misty as he contemplated laying down his clippers for the last time.
“It’s my last day and I don’t know if that’s good or not. It’s been a long run,” he said. “But, I’m really glad Andrew is taking it over. I didn’t just want to lock up the shop. My customers are my friends.”
Grumbein said only small changes are in store for the shop.
“I want to keep it classic and original,” Grumbein said. “There are a lot of shops trying to be hip and crazy and they are losing what’s special about a barber’s shop. It’s the last spot where men can come in and just be themselves.”