He still doesn’t know my name after five years of patronage. His jokes are corny and repetitious. He insists on having two radios on at the same time. Some will be turned off by the the backside of his hand mirror which invariably features the butt end of a farm animal. But it’s doubtful there is a better barber in all of Oregon than Ron Steiger.
His shop in Tillamook is pin clean, and he likes to keep it that way by sweeping thoroughly after each haircut. He has a cutting tool for every occasion, each carefully laid out on a cabinet as if he’s prepping for surgery.
Meticulous is a good word to describe his artistry. He’s the only barber I’ve known who carefully critiques his own work out loud and won’t let you step down until he is satisfied.
Ron balks at the term hair stylist and all those fancy names like Shear Shack. He’s a barber. The old fashion kind who closes on Mondays, doesn’t take appointments and offers a shoulder massage with a vibrator after every operation.
The last time I was there, he refused to take my money because it was veterans week and all veterans were free. Who does that these days?
“It’s the least I can do,” Ron said.
Ron doesn’t talk much, but if you want to know about the town of Tillamook, ask Ron.
I think it was the famous author Truman Capote who said something like “you can learn more about a city in beauty salons and barber shops than in most information centers. Wouldn’t you agree?
Bob Dietsche is a Manzanita resident. He is author of “Jumptown: A History Of Portland Jazz” and “Tatum’s Town, the Early Years of Jazz in Toledo, Ohio.”