It’s been over 45 years since Mom gave her first haircut in Caldwell’s Barber Shop. And though so many years have passed, she will tell you exactly who her first customer was and what he said. Mom was a nervous twenty-nine year old and had just graduated from the Lawton Barber School. Dad needed help, especially on Friday afternoons and all day Saturdays.
Mom is quick to remind anyone asking, not hair-stylist, not hair-dresser turned hair-cutter; Mom didn’t take short cuts with clipper attachments and she used a straight razor around the ears. It was in a barber shop after all, not a salon. (You go to a barber shop to get a flat-top or tapered clipper cut; you go to a salon to get highlights and over priced scissor cut. I think much more highly of the barbershop, but I am biased, I’m the son of barbers.)
I like the smell of a real barber shop. Give me some Jeris hair tonic and I’m home again.
The barber shop is the ultimate man cave (though I read recently that “man cave” is passé). My point is, it’s a man’s world inside an old fashioned barber shop. My Mom handled herself quite nicely inside the mancave, she learned to trade barbs with the guys and not to take the smart alecks too seriously. When a fella made a crack about the lady barber, she could crack right back. Continue reading Big Little Words
I’m a hypocrite in more ways than I like to admit. In fact, I’m a hypocrite in some ways that I won’t admit. Wait, maybe it’s not so much that I’m a hypocrite, I just tend to have double-standards here and there. In particular…
Sometimes Expletives Make Me Laugh
Most commonly, folks would define an expletive as a cuss word, vulgarity, or profanity. But the actual dictionary definition is “a word without meaning added to fill a sentence; serving to fill up, merely for effect.”
I am tempted to write and distinguish between obscenities and profanities; there is a difference between foul language and a curse word. Etymology is one of my favorite areas of study; I love to look at the history and origins of words, and how the meaning of a word can change over time. Swear words, “off-color” words, and vulgar words — there is a difference, you know. Continue reading Barber Shop Theology – To Cuss or Not to Cuss
A man walks into a barber shop and sits in the chair. The barber asks, “How do you want your hair cut?” The man says, “I want it short on one side, uneven on the other side, crooked in the front and a hacked up in the back.” The barber shakes his head and says, “I don’t know if I can do that.” The man replied, “I don’t know why not, you had no problem last time.”
I like jokes. I happen to know one of the world’s foremost and talented joke tellers. His name is Robert “Uncle Bob” Caldwell. He lives is Granbury, Texas. I love that guy. I always wanted to be able to tell jokes like Uncle Bob. He could sure deliver a punch line.
One thing I’ve learned about punch lines, they don’t necessarily have to be in the context of a joke to be humorous. Sometimes a good punch line is simply the “pay-off” in a story.
NO BRAG. JUST FACT
It was a typical day in the barber shop— Dad was cutting hair, and his customer was resting comfortably with his eyes closed.
The front door opened, and Dad glanced up to say, “Morning. Come in, you’re next.”
What happened next amused my dad to no end, and his retelling of the story over the next few days was his delight … Continue reading I Am The Best: No Brag, Just Fact
An Honest Faith
I first heard a small diatribe on the subject of faith while visiting Dad’s barber shop. I was a college student and had grown very interested in my parents’ renewed passion for Christ. I tuned in a bit more than usual when a fella that I barely knew started to deliver his discourse on faith.
As I recall his talk, I remember it as just that—a lot of talk. It sounded something like this…
“It’s all about faith, you know. When we get sick, God’s just testing us to see if we can get rid of all our questions and just believe in Him and his power. Why, just the other day I believed really hard that God could heal my aching back, and he did! I was tempted to doubt, but I didn’t let it get to me. My faith healed me!”
I listened as this customer in my dad’s shop proclaimed his conviction that “most of the world’s problems are really just because people don’t have enough faith,” and that poverty, sickness, and pain could be effectively wiped out if people would just extinguish their doubts with a fire hose of super-powerful trust in God.
His talk concerned me. Maybe he knew how to muster up that kind of super-strong faith, but I’m here to confess, I’ve never really been a person who’s been able to get rid of all his doubts or questions. In fact, I would give myself a C- if I had to submit a report card on myself. Continue reading Barbershop Theology: My Faith Hero
A straight razor is an imposing instrument. I have watched my dad use one a thousand times, my mom too for that matter.
I loved to watch Dad extend the razor strap and whisk the blade back and forth on it. He would hone that blade to a pristine cutting edge before giving a shave or neatly trimming around a fresh haircut.
Customers who asked for a shave relaxed and wholly trusted Dad to set that blade to their face and throat. The steps were simple. First the customer was laid back in the barber’s chair, then Dad jerked the side lever and gently pulled the back to a vertical position. Next a steaming towel, bearably hot, was put on the face. A nice lather followed and as the whiskers were pacified, Dad prepared the blade for the task.
This memory shifts to my Mom’s barber chair. Late one Saturday evening she was asked to give a shave. That didn’t happen often with the lady barber. Continue reading Barbershop Theology: Faith at the Razor’s Edge