Brett walked in the door the other day from his bi-monthly visit to the barber shop chuckling a little bit more than usual.
By usual, I mean that a trip to our eccentric barber shop usually provides some kind of humor each time he visits. Sometimes he's entertained by the local "good 'ol boys" gossiping about politics. Sometimes it's the mom in there, letting her teenage son pick out his own haircut for the first time that makes him smile. Sometimes he sees someone we went to high school with and a session of "way too much information" takes place, in which he comes home and shares. Oh, I love it when he shares.
But the other day, he could barely contain himself when he came home from his haircut.
My 4th grade teacher has been our town's "maintenance guy" for years and years. I don't know when he retired from teaching, but let's just say, for the sake of politeness, that when I had him for a teacher in 1983, he probably should have been doing something other than molding the minds of young children for a living.
He is, however, a wonderful caretaker of the shopping center's rosebushes, the holiday decorations, the burnt-out light bulbs and anything else that must be kept tidy. He is the kind of character that tips his hat to you and greets you with a smile and a genuine interest in your life.
On more than one occasion, he's inquired about my children, my parents and my brother. And I do not mind at all spending a few minutes chatting with him. He gives my kids quarters for the lead toy machines outside the grocery store and thanks them for making his job easier by picking up stray garbage.
I have come to appreciate him in ways that I never thought possible when I sat in his classroom, a petrified 10-year-old girl, being told that "girls weren't good at math," and afraid that I'd get my knuckles hit with a ruler if I wasn't holding my pencil the correct way.
When he saw my husband at the barber shop, he immediately knew who he was.
"And how is Mr. My Maiden Name, doing today?" he inquired.
Brett answered, "Well I'm fine, Charlie, and I may have married a My Maiden Name, but I didn't take her name when I did."
I love small towns.