Pete & Leo: Cutting up

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 20, 2012 - 3:37 PM

A barber and his customer at the Grain Exchange -- together 32 years -- share life over a regular haircut.

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Leo Odden, 70, cuts the hair of Peter Berglund, 62.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

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Peter Berglund found his way to Leo Odden's brown vinyl chair in 1974 and has been sitting down for a trim once a month since.

Pete, 62, a wheat futures trader, and Leo, 70, owner of the Grain Exchange barbershop in downtown Minneapolis, clearly relish each other's company and the opportunity to push each other's buttons.

As Leo cuts, thins and shapes Peter's enviably thick and wavy hair, they banter about their three favorite topics -- women, money and women -- and dispel the myth that men don't share personal information. Pete, of Hopkins, has been married 35 years. He has two grown children and one grandchild.

"A testament to longevity," Leo says.

And Leo?

"I made it for 27 years as a married man, then was put out on waivers."

He's been seeing a Wisconsin woman for 15 years. It's a good life, he says.

"That's because they only see each other once a week," Pete pipes up.

Pete pays $17 plus a $1 tip for his haircut.

"Most people give me $3," Leo injects. Snip, snip. "Pete's a little tight."

"We're Norwegian," Pete says. "We don't throw money around."

He might, though, if he thought the workmanship was better.

"Leo has a tendency to cut in a military way. I had enough of the military when I was in it."

Actually, the cut's quite good, and Pete knows it. He stands, thanks Leo, walks out.

"Where'd you put your money?" Leo shouts.

"Oh, God," says Pete. "I've got to pay you."

He returns, hands Leo a twenty, waits for his $2 in change.

Leo laughs.

Big tip or none, "I'm always proud when Peter walks out of here."

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