Because I want to be a responsible citizen and give careful note regarding the topic, I’ll submit this preface. Alcohol abuse is bad. Drunkenness is bad. In fact, I would go further and say the only kind of indulgence I have ever seen that isn’t bad is the love of God.
The following recollection is one of my favorite and clearest memories, and for no good reason. I think I just chalk it up to the unique experience a kid could have 40 or 50 years ago. It’s also a tribute to all the other lessons unremembered in the people business.
The Barber’s Son and Shoe Shine Boy
As I have been remembering and writing about the hours I spend in my dad’s barbershop, it has finally dawned on me that what seemed like my entire childhood was actually a short window of time. I was the shoe shine boy in 1965, and probably didn’t retire completely until 1968. Oh, I was in the shop a lot before and after that, but that was when I logged a lot of hours.
As the shoe shine boy I had the cool job of hanging around as men came and went all day. I listened to all manner of talk about the weather, price of cattle and/or references to hippies. Now that I think of it, hippies never came into the barber shop.
Saturdays and Saturday Nights
Saturdays were long. My dad would open the shop at 7am and we didn’t close until 9pm. I waited most Saturday mornings to go to work with my mom. She didn’t step behind her chair until a minute past 9 in the morning. I passed my day by shining shoes for a quarter and slipping off when things got slow to watch guys play pool, maybe play a pin ball machine or splurge to buy a Coke with a shot of cherry or vanilla in it.
On Saturday nights the street in front of the barber shop would always come alive with teenagers “dragging Main”. (Technically it’s Evans Ave. but I only throw that in for posterity.) Continue reading Barbershop Theology: First Haircut