Reporter's Notebook: The first time for ‘a little off the top’

Ronell Gowdy prepares Reed Nash, Gazette reporter Matthew Nash’s son, for his first hair cut.   - Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash
Ronell Gowdy prepares Reed Nash, Gazette reporter Matthew Nash’s son, for his first hair cut.
— image credit: Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Whether you are getting on the school bus, jumping out of an airplane or hitting the wrestling mat for the first time, we’ve tried to capture those special moments and tell your stories.

We’ll always continue to do that — but for now the pages are turning to the Sequim Gazette newsroom staff as we revamp the series, “First Time for Everything.”

We’ll be the ones taking on new adventures and experiences through the summer-long series.

Some stories may inspire you to try something new while others may spark a moment of nostalgia or encourage you to look at the simpler things in life.

We’ll be trying a handful of Sequim experiences that are on and off the radar involving lavender, the Olympic Discovery Trail, local pastimes and plenty more vague descriptors to wet your palate.

We may see the pickle ball players, a neighbor walking a dog or a painter and not think twice about what they are doing, which is the basis behind our series.

After all, it’s never too early or too late to try something for the first time.

To start, we’ll follow my son, Reed, as he gets his first haircut:

While hundreds of Sequim residents receive haircuts each day, it’s not often a toddler receives his/her first new do.

A hair salon or barbershop is home to dozens of conversations from the weather to sports to “What do you do?” But with a toddler — at least mine — the topic between my hairdresser, wife and I were questions and concerns that Reed would be OK to sit in a chair for 15 minutes.

I can safely say that, yes, he sat, and he sat fairly well.

My wife and I have been deciding for months when the right time was to have our son’s hair cut, but family and friends often showed shock at the mention.

“Not his locks!”

“He’s so pretty!”

And simply, “No!”

The ‘Frasier Crane’

Since he was about 1, my son’s hair mostly has grown in the back into what some might say was a mullet, short on top, long in the back. I often referred to it as the “Frasier Crane,” which if you ever watched “Cheers” or “Frasier,” then you get the drift.

My son often prefers to wear a hat — a fedora to be more specific — that he would pick out and put on himself. Reed’s locks curl out from underneath, and at certain points as we were getting ready in the morning, I thought he’d start doing a song and dance number, waving his hat and stomping his happy feet.

After deciding to cut his hair my wife and I wanted to make sure our son wouldn’t fidget, so we came prepared with a sucker, a pre-loaded video on my cell phone and his comfort toy baby Lucy.

Thankfully, a sweet little dog was at the salon as well, making a fairly flawless combination. My wife’s hair dresser, Ronell Gowdy of N’ Style salon in Sequim, talked us through it.

Brave little guy

As the apron went around him, his curiosity piqued, but Reed didn’t flinch until about halfway through.

Ronell took the first cut from the top, pulling his long locks up and snipping and placing them into a plastic sandwich bag. By the end, the bag looked like it was full of circular hairy earrings.

My son looked at the bag and asked “What’s that?” But other than that question, he remained fairly quiet until toward the end.

Unfortunately, my boy shed a few tears as he looked in the mirror and saw a different him, but that wasn’t something Lucy, a lollipop and puppy couldn’t fix.

My wife put the dog on his lap and the pup tried to get in a few licks of the lollipop.

The whole experience was a blur. For 15 minutes I became “that” dad by taking too many photos, but people often tell me to capture these precious moments because before I know it, they’ll be gone.


Contact Matthew Nash at


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