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 have attended college. I have attended four of them. I learned a lot at college. I have degrees that suggest, “Hey, this guy learned.” But I can never replace the lessons I learned as the shoe-shine boy in my dad’s barbershop.
Hundreds of people came through Caldwell’s Barber Shop over the years. Between public school and the barber shop I received an education in Apache, Oklahoma. Here’s another story that has helped me understand a little more about the world, myself, and the truth to live by.
Salesmen and “Simpletons”
A unique sub-set of folks that came through Apache viewed us locals as rubes or hayseeds. I was always entertained when some of the locals would oblige the stereotype. They did it purposefully. Most of the people that visited our fair small town were gracious, winsome, and very kind. A few of them were condescending (a few salesmen) they “shore was high themselves.”
As a boy, I was maybe ten or eleven years old, I could be easily impressed by a smooth presentation and a new gizmo with an interesting name. The old timers who loitered in Dad’s barbershop weren’t so easily moved. My job was to observe from the sideline as the pitchman worked the crowd and then watch as one of the locals morphed into Gomer Pyle. Continue reading Barbershop Theology – a lesson from a hot check