At the Barbershop
I was there soon after 9:00 a.m. It was good to see Bobbie (Barbara) there. Bobbie and I see each other most mornings as I stroll out with Penne,and she does her long and brisk early morning walk.
Her mind is set on walking, so we usually share a hale and hearty greeting, with no time for conversation .
One morning I saw her with her husband as he, on a walker, and she took a short walk. I have seen them a couple of other times when Bobbie has taken him around the pond's walkway in his wheel-chair. He has a lovely smile.
Bobbie and I sat together and chatted this morning. Hubby, in his wheel-chair was getting shorn. I mentioned his gorgeous smile. She said that even with all his physical weaknesses he is always entirely gracious, and appreciative of her loving care.
I asked "for how long have you been married?" She responded "for 55 1/2 years". Then she told me the story.
He was a Mechanical Engineer working for the Goodyear Company in Columbia.
Her father a University Professor, (and an ornithologist) was on a sabbatical leave in Columbia.
Following Bobbie's graduation from College, she and her sister joined their parents in Columbia. They travelled by freighter from San Francisco (a two week voyage).
In Columbia she was asked to go out in a blind date. She resisted with all her might. Despite all her protests she "gave in" and went out. Two months later she and her date ( the man who is now her husband) were engaged to be married.
All these years later I love this story.
In the U.S.A. the barbers who own their business (and maybe hair stylists too) do not have employees, but they rent out their chairs to other qualified folks.
This morning I did not get the affable Patrick (the owner). Instead I got a somewhat gawky 30+ guy, who always does a good job.
I'd heard that he was also a University student, so I asked him what he was studying. He said that his forte is Chemical Engineering, and that he is paying for his studies by moonlighting as a barber.
I told him that I am a semi-retired Priest, and that because of a quirk in British law back in the 1970's my four years of study at St. John's College Nottingham/and the University of Nottingham were entirely financed by the Oxfordshire County Council. (I happened to be working in Oxfordshire when I applied for my financial aid).
My barber became animated. He (a Chemical Engineering major) began to talk about theology!
He said, "I love theology".
He went on to chat about St. Augustine of Hippo, a fourth/fifth century Bishop and Theologian in north Africa.
Mr. Chemical Engineering Barber told me that he loves the writings of Augustine, especially the latter's Magnum Opus: "The City of God". He has read every word.
By now I was almost out of my depth. I covered my embarrassment by telling him that I had quoted Augustine in a recent sermon (c'est vrai).
I was too craven to tell him that I have never read "The City of God".
So, to cover my theological ineptitude, I tipped him handsomely!