THE HAIRCUT

My uncle’s country store was located on top of Shakerag Hill overlooking what is now Peachtree City. There was a sitting area out front covered by an arbor of kudzu vine. This area also served as a kind of front porch of his home, for the family lived in the back portion of the store.

People within about a five mile radius frequently came to the store to buy staples, to get the local news, and to socialize. Men could also get a pretty decent haircut. My uncle was a fair barber. He came from a very large rural family (12 children) where it was necessary for brothers to learn to cut each other’s hair. He still used a manual type set of clippers, the kind that uses no electricity.

One summer day a small boy walked up to the store and said that his parents had sent him there to get a haircut. My uncle was too busy at the time to take care of him. Harry, his son, who was about twelve or thirteen, decided he could do the job. After all, he’d watched his father do it lots of times. First, he had the boy sit on a nail keg out under the vine arbor. Then, he placed a sheet around his neck like barbers do and began cutting. The more he cut the worse the boy’s hair looked. After a while, Harry realized that he had a mess on his hands and he ran into the store and got his father.

My uncle came out. He walked around the young boy several times looking at the haircut from different perspectives, observed the damage, and finally asked, “Well, how does it feel?”

I was a very young spectator but as I recall the boy left at least “feeling good.”