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Barbershop is some time well spent

On Tuesday Al Middleton ventured into our offices and informed us that he had retired and sold out his Al's Barber Shop.

A few hours later, Linda Stuckey, the new owner came in and we chatted for a few about the barber shop.

I've never used a barber shop with the exception of a few times I would have my head completely shaved as a child.

A shaved head is always cooler during the summer and my hair would be the perfect length by the time school started again.

So I decided to take my lunch break on Tuesday and venture up for a real old-fashioned trim at Stuckey's Barber & Style Shop.

Barbershops have always fascinated me from the spinning barber pole to the smell of the talcum powder they use on you after a trim.

I always enjoy watching Andy Griffith because they had a barbershop where the men would go to talk, catch up on the latest town news and generally fellowship.

I couldn't help but think that Floyd Lawson was not really capable of cutting hair for you never saw any fall to the floor.

I'm used to getting my haircut at places where you have to call and make an appointment and hope they have an opening.

So when Linda said just to stop in, I was taken aback.

No appointment?

This would be interesting indeed.

So off I went up Commerce Street and walked in.

"Make yourself at home," someone said to me.

There were several men sitting around waiting as the two ladies finished up with the two gentlemen already seated.

I took a spot in the corner and took in the atmosphere.

The smell immediately brought memories of Eric Thompson.

He and my grandmother were cousins but I always called him Uncle Eric.

He would often give my buzzed cut at the first of each summer.

I was thinking about him as two new men took their seats in the chairs.

Mr. Howard Noe was talking to another man about World War Ii.

I couldn't help but think about what these two could tell me about their experiences in this country's last great war.

Another man was asking about a new doctor he was going to see.

Another man waiting began to ask me questions about the newspaper, and suddenly I found myself caught up in the barbershop.

I finally took my place in the chair and Linda quickly made little time of taking off the mop of hair that I had grown way too long.

We spent the 15 minutes chatting about our childhoods and how we remembered the drive-in movie and such.

It was certainly a pleasant break for me in the middle of a hectic day and all too soon I was stepping back out on the busy street and heading back to the newspaper office.

So what did I learn from my experience at Stuckey's?

I learned that sometimes it's good to take a break and listen to others.

Engage them in conversation and learn their stories.

And it's good to know that we have our own Floyd's right here in our own version of Mayberry.

But at least here you can get a really good cut.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 382-3111, ext. 136 or via email at jay. thomas@greenvilleadvocate.com.