08/21/17 3:21pm

Most of us are familiar with this popular lyric from the hit musical “Mary Poppins”: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Mary Poppins and Mom had a couple of things in common: Mom had a lovely soprano voice and supported the notion that nasty-tasting medicine could be mitigated with sugar. I didn’t agree — but, then again, Mom thought me rebellious.

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07/27/17 3:15pm

I’ve dubbed this past June “the month of bombshells.” The shells started flying in May, when a routine visit with my ophthalmologist morphed into what seems like a lifelong relationship. But I don’t mind; he’s on the cutting edge of medicine and a nice guy.

However, I wasn’t prepared to hear that I needed cataract surgery in both eyes.

Bombshell No. 1.

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04/27/17 3:20pm

In January, my son Jeff and I were chatting about this and that — just an ordinary phone conversation, or so I thought. He was recounting his trip to Sicily, discussing the election results, the weather and, smack in the middle of our exchange, he said, “And Mom, it looks like you’re gonna finally be a grandma!” Jeff then continued the conversation — one-sided now!

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03/23/17 4:28pm

I loved the long-running TV show “Cheers.” The series revolved around a “watering hole” in Boston called Cheers, where a “cast of characters” (literally) shows up regularly. Owner Sam Malone is a former Boston Red Sox pitcher whose drinking ended his career. Working alongside him are Coach and Carla, a wisecracking waitress.

Among the regulars is Norm, an accountant who spends his time at Cheers to avoid his wife, Vera. Cliff, the mailman, annoys everyone with his conceit. Sam is a womanizer who thinks there’s no woman he can’t have — except Diane. Unlucky Diane is a grad student who, when dumped by her boyfriend, finds herself waitressing at Cheers. Sam and Diane’s relationship is a push-pull thing. Enter psychiatrist Frasier Crane, who makes a play for Diane. And so it went — for about 11 years.

The “Cheers” theme song took on a life of its own: “Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows you name, and they’re always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.”

I have a favorite “watering hole.” After a long and sometimes stressful day, I go there and just chill. Ha! Fooled you. Nope, it’s not a bar. Although sometimes I wish Mom’s ghostly voice, admonishing that a “lady” doesn’t frequent bars, would shush up. My feel-good place is my hair salon, where I’m a regular.

When I began frequenting this salon, my main purpose was to get a dye job (c’mon, nobody has naturally highlighted brown hair at my age) and a trim. But, over time, I looked forward to the chit-chat, even if I didn’t participate. Unlike my dear deceased Mom, I do shush up — occasionally!

I’m always greeted warmly by the proprietor and the staff. The offer of a beverage and camaraderie is a dual delight. I heave a sigh of relief when the attendant wraps a cape around my shoulders; it’s my signal to just chill. Being pampered is a perk for joining the “cast of characters.”

My hairdresser and I talk about everything. Sometimes it’s lighthearted banter; other times it’s of a heart-to-heart, spill-your-guts nature. She’s that kind of gal. I trust her, not only because I know she won’t turn my hair green, but because we share a small slice of life without fear or judgment.

Socializing is a huge part of frequenting this salon. I enjoy the company and easy rapport with some of the employees. We certainly laugh a lot. Maybe the chemicals in the air get us high — who knows? It’s a special place to gather and be with interesting women I may not have otherwise met.

True, we are not looking very glamorous with our hair full of “gunk” or foils. Nevertheless, I’ve had such interesting conversations with gals sitting in the chairs on either side of me — who, by the way, look as frightful as I do. My chair mates and I sometimes get into some heavy stuff. Hmm. Makes me wonder if we’re comfortable sharing because, in a weird way, we’re incognito. Funny, when we emerge from under the capes, all coiffed and beautiful, we tend to be a tad shy with one another.

Before a trip to the salon, we may be experiencing a bad hair day or a bad day, period. It’s amazing how good a gal can feel with a new “do.” We can post our picture on Facebook and get dozens of “likes” and compliments. Great for the ego, right?

We’re the actors in our own story; however, everyone has a need to play a part in the “cast of characters” somewhere, sometime — it’s human nature. Maybe a beauty salon is not your style (no pun intended). A saloon, perhaps? Clearly, folks wanna be where everybody knows their name and they’re always glad you came.

Thanks, Lisa, for the inspiration!

(Photo credit: Flickr/Michael Tuuk)

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

02/23/17 3:25pm

They say that death comes in threes. I’ve never given much credence to this superstition; however, I may revisit my thinking. I said goodbye to three good friends over the last year. One was a shocker — the kind of loss that seems unreal, so much so that I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. The other, a lovely staff member whose death was expected; but are we ever prepared? The third was an old friend who was part of my life in another place and time.

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12/24/16 6:01am

It’s always a trip, literally and figuratively, to visit my adult kids in California. When we’re together, our conversations gravitate to the “remember whens.” Our individual recollections vacillate widely: joyful, hilarious or downright sad. This visit, we reminisced about “Christmas past” — a season we shared in another time and place, a lifetime ago. READ