Clark Hollow Ramblings: Well blessed and highly favored

It was getting past time for this old ram to be shorn, so I made my way up to the Sperryville barbershop. It seems like I hit it on their busy day, anymore. For some reason I forgot myself, and when Stacy asked me how I had been doing I started into my litany of old man problems, and, really, who wants to hear that? So, I caught myself and told her that I was well blessed, that I had a good wife, two wonderful children, four beautiful and talented grandchildren, and I was sorry I was complaining to her. And she said, “Yes, Richard. As I always say, we have been well blessed and highly favored.”

And I keep trying to remember her words. They are so true. Charles Smoot was in that busy little establishment getting his hair cut. We got to talking about old times and Charles asked me if I remembered Mr. Phelbert Green’s barbershop in Washington, Virginia. I told him I certainly did. To my recollection, Mr. Green was the first man to ever cut my hair. I do not know if I am spelling Mr. Green’s first name correctly or not, and I apologize in advance if I have misspelled it. He was a kindly gentleman. I loved the smell of his barbershop. 

I may have told this story in this space before, but I told it to Charles and Stacy. When I was a child, my father would take me to Mr. Green’s barbershop to get a haircut. I recall that Mr. Green had a bad hip. He had a device like a walking cane. And where the curvature of the cane handle would have been, there was a kind of pad, and Mr. Green, an older gentleman, would rest his bad hip on that pad while he cut your hair. And after he cut in one place for a while, he would pick that cane up, and move a step or two, and reposition himself, and relocate that pad on his bad hip, and cut some more. He was a very industrious man. 

As best I can recall, the price for my haircut, as I was not yet 12 years old, was 25 cents. Dad’s haircut was 50 cents. If I live to be 100 years old, I will never forget the spring of the year, when I turned 12 years old in February, and Dad took me to Mr. Green’s to get my haircut. When Mr. Green finished cutting our hair, Dad took out a dollar to pay for our haircuts. He usually got a quarter back. I looked up at Mr. Green and Dad and said, “Dad, don’t forget, I turned 12 in February.”

I can’t be sure, but it seems like I remember Mr. Green smiled a little, took the dollar, said, “Thank you, Mr. Brady,” and turned and put the dollar in his money box. In those days, the mid-1950’s, a quarter was still worth something. I always like to think that Dad would have remembered that I had just turned 12. But remember, I was the youngest of 10 kids, and keeping up with all those birthdays was hard to do. Besides, Mr. Green was due that extra 25 cents and fair is fair. I also seem to remember that it was a quiet ride home. 

For those of you following the garden saga, particularly Howie and Beth, the potatoes went in the ground March 24 and the little stuff March 26. The peas and onions are up, as are the radishes, lettuce and beets. The new raised bed strawberry patch has been moved and replanted. We also have one gorgeous, flowering early girl tomato plant surrounded by a protective “tower of water.” 

We took a long ride in the fog and rain last week, over to Showalter’s nurseries in Timberville. My bride bought all sorts of flowers. I bought tomatoes and yellow bell peppers and cabbage. Things are looking up. Stacy was right. We are well blessed and highly favored. Can the morels be far behind?

And, finally, we come to a small political comment. I was pleased to hear that John McCarthy is not leaving his position as county administrator anytime soon. Like the water in the well that you never miss until the well goes dry, this county is going to miss Mr. McCarthy when he decides he wants to do something different. I have had my differences with some of the decisions coming out of his office or emanating from him and issued through the board of supervisors. But, friends, it would take a pure fool to think that Mr. McCarthy has done anything but a yeoman’s job for this county. 

I know he makes a nice salary. But I also know if he were paid by the hour he would not make minimum wage. Note to the board of supervisors: Stop worrying about wildlife management and do something worthwhile. Give Mr. McCarthy a new car. Give him an unlimited credit card. Give him a raise. Bribe him. Like the rest of Rappahannock County, perhaps more so, you are going to miss him when he is gone. Thank you, Mr. McCarthy, for all your hard work and dedication to Rappahannock County. Please stay with us as long as you possibly can.

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