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October 19, 2023

It’s Never “Just Fishing”

Community Involvement

She ain’t even thinkin’ ’bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin’.

Young man fishing for the first time with fishing rod provided by Susan Harris from Hair Saloon
Edison’s son fishing for the first time with rod and tackle provided by Hair Saloon Creve Coeur Manager Susan Harris.

That’s part of the chorus to a song called “Just Fishin’” by country music artist Trace Adkins. It’s a song about a father and a daughter enjoying an afternoon together, and him having the realization that this experience is much more than just a fishing trip- it’s a core memory they’re both making that will forever be cataloged in their minds as a snapshot of their relationship.

Susan Harris, Manager of the Creve Coeur Hair Saloon location, knows very well that fishing with someone you care about is never just fishing.  It’s no secret among her coworkers or her clients that she’s always got at least one fishing pole and a tackle box in her vehicle just in case the opportunity presents itself to wet a line and deepen a bond.

One day as Susan welcomed a new client, Edison, to her chair, she set out to get to know him better by asking about his life and family. She learned her new client was also new to the St. Louis area, having recently moved from Puerto Rico. As she spoke to him more, she learned he had a wife and two children who had not been able to move with him, but who he was hoping would be able to join him soon.

She could tell he was concerned, so you can imagine how happy she was when on his next visit, he brought his son to the Creve Coeur Saloon as well. His family was now here with him and they were all beginning their new life in Missouri.

As she provided his service that day, she learned Edison and his wife were worried about how well their 6-year-old son would be able to fit in socially at school, as he was still developing his chops with the English language. But as his father got his haircut, the Shoe Caddie on staff that day struck up a conversation and a game of checkers with the young boy. His dad was so proud seeing how well his son was getting along with this new stranger he asked Susan to take a photo to share with his wife to show that he was going to be just fine.

“It felt so good to see he was able to sit down and play a game of checkers and communicate with someone who spoke a different language,” Edison said.

Susan credits her own father for her passion for fishing. While she grew up going to the lake every summer weekend as a child, she wasn’t always crazy about the pastime. See, another thing her coworkers and clients know is that Susan loves to talk- a little bit too much for her dad’s liking in the boat. So her early days of fishing were spent on the bank near their campsite, mostly with her brothers.

Then, about five years ago, she got the opportunity to fish alongside her dad in her first fishing tournament. They had an amazing time together and went on to fish tournaments almost every month from March to November for the next several years. While she doesn’t fish in tournaments as frequently anymore, the fishing bug bit and never let go.

So it was good fortune Edison happened to be sitting in Susan’s chair that day when the conversation turned to fishing. He explained how his son was very eager to try fishing for the first time, but that he himself had never learned how since his own father passed away before he had the opportunity to teach him.

So, Susan started laying out the basics. He’d need a license of course and there were many places in town to get one. But as the conversation evolved to rods, reels, live bait, and lures, she realized she might be giving more information than he was ready for. So when she finished the service she took his son out to her vehicle and found a “boy-colored” rod and reel combo to give him. She bagged up some essential accessories and taught him how to cast an open-faced reel right there in the Hair Saloon lobby. She explained to dad that if his son lost the lure she had tied on, he could find some instructional videos on YouTube to replace it.

Edison reached back out to Susan a few days later to enthusiastically say “Thank you” and share a photo of his son fishing for the first time. He did in fact lose the lure which every fisherman know is a “when” not “if” proposition. And while it took his father a couple of hours, he figured out how to tie a new one on. Edison and his son have gone fishing a few times since. And while the fish haven’t always been biting, there’s been no shortage of memories made.

“It was completely unexpected. My son mentioned wanting to try fishing and she went above and beyond,” Edison said. “Me and my son both go to see her for our haircuts now, but I have to always make sure there’s a Shoe Caddie on duty first!”

One of the most special parts of the Hair Saloon experience is the relationships between our staff and our clients. We often talk about how many of our PHDs have served multiple generations of families. How they once gave a first haircut to a toddler and later gave him the haircut he’d wear to his high school graduation or on his wedding day. Susan now has a new story to add to that file. Like a lot of teenagers, she and her dad had a rocky relationship when she was going through her late teen years. Fishing was the thing that brought them back together in a deeper bond than they’d ever shared before. Her dad now calls her the son he always wanted, which always gets a laugh because she has 3 brothers.

It truly never is just fishing, is it?