Hair-raising Adventures in Blackberry Picking

If I hadn’t picked 12 containers of blackberries, I might not have ended up with the Dorothy Hamill-had-she-cut-her-locks-with-gardening-sheers haircut at the age of 13 (aka, the worst age to be when you suddenly find yourself possessing a disastrous haircut).

It seemed like a good enough idea at the time. I was staying with my friend Ramsay at her dad’s Napa vineyard for a week and after a few days of playing Go Go’s records, gorging on junk food and complaining about how thoroughly bored we were, we opted to take Ramsay’s dad up on his offer to pay us to pick blackberries for him.

A dollar a container was, I believe, the going rate — which was enough to get us out in the Napa sun and tossing as many blackberries as we could into the containers we were certain were going to make us rich. At some point rather early on, we must have realized that there was no point in working so hard to make money when we didn’t have anything we wanted the money for. Thus, we reasoned — and here’s where the thinking is fuzzy because I don’t recall whose mind this idea sprung from — why not attempt to make $24, which would net us each enough to get radical haircuts at the local Supercuts?

We picked until our fingers were bloody, traded the berries in for cold, hard cash and headed into town for our makeovers. Why I chose a Napa Supercuts to be the recipient of the long locks I’d had since I was five is anyone’s guess. As far as I know, blackberry juice stained onto fingers doesn’t tamper with your mind. Ramsay, too, went a radical route, so it’s safe to say that we were both under the same deluded spell.

Honestly, I really thought that both Ramsay and I looked great. We passed a mirror back and forth, complimented each other, and took pictures to pass the time before returning home to show our respective mothers our new looks. And while I can’t remember what Ramsay’s mom’s reaction was, I remember that my mom cried. Cried. And she’s not prone to drama. I think I argued that I thought I looked good, all through her emergency call to a hair salon and trip down there — where she begged the stylist to fix it.

So what did I learn from my hairy adolescent adventure? Well, for one, Napa may be the place for a good merlot but is not where radical hair decisions should be made.

And there are a lot easier ways to make a buck than picking blackberries.

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6 thoughts on “Hair-raising Adventures in Blackberry Picking

  1. Hard to believe any salon could mess up the Dorothy Hamill. Maybe your stylist was busy wondering why your fingers were stained and bleeding.;)

    I think with the Dorothy Hamill haircut – it was the first haircut we believed made us into someone else. Or at least I believed it. In half an hour, I became this glossy, tanned Hampton’s girl whose earrings suddenly showed. Except in reality, I really only became a girl whose earrings showed.

    Still, I try to remake myself with every haircut. Some people never learn.

  2. I’m sure there are easier ways to make a buck, but I have to tell you – any place where you can also eat in the inventory is up there in my book! Still, it sounds positively lovely — and makes me miss California, especially Napa and Sonoma Valleys, which doesn’t happen often (not because I don’t love it — I just happen to love Hawaii more).

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