Dec 14, 2016


Bella, the barber shop dog at Terry McCay's Barber Shop
When I moved to Tennessee in 1981, I began going to the "Please-U" Barber Shop on Elk Avenue, not far from the court house.  Over a period of two or three months, I gravitated to James Stewart as my barber.  From that time forward, I would wait until James could take me whenever I entered the shop.  He was "my" barber.  We carried on conversations when he was cutting my hair.  He knew the way I liked it cut.  He learned about my family and I learned about his.  There's a certain kind of good bond between a barber and his clients.

Then, about 12 or 13 years ago, James announced that he was retiring.  He had turned 85, and he had decided to throw in the towel, literally.  I was heartbroken.  I tried the other barbers at the Please-U, but it wasn't the same.  Then, on one of my many business trips, I ran into an old colleague, Randy Cash, at the Atlanta airport.  We were catching up when he mentioned that he often came to Lincoln County because his barber was there.  He had started as a child having his hair cut by a fellow named Dickey Campbell.  Dickey had a shop in Huntsville at that time.  But eventually, Dickey moved his shop to his home state of Tennessee, and Randy had followed him (I said it's a special bond!).  I made sure I got Dickey's address before Randy and I parted ways.

Soon, I tried Dickey Campbell and liked the way he cut my hair.  He was "my" barber for the next several years until earlier this year, when he ran into some health issues that forced his retirement.  I felt terrible for Dickey, but had no choice but to start looking for another barber.  I didn't want a stylist or some foo-foo salon.  I wanted to find a barber that can get rid of some of my extra hair (of which there's not a lot these days) and carry on a pleasant, engaging conversation.  My first attempts were to go to what I call the strip mall chains.  You've seen these -- Head Start, Sport Clips, Master Cuts, Klean Cuts, and the like.  The problem with these shops is evident from the second visit -- you never seem to get the same hair cutter twice in a row.  In fact, it looked to me as if the whole crew got replaced between visits!  This continued for several months until last week, when I mentioned my frustration to Mary Ann.

Like the champ that she is, Mary Ann jumped on the Internet.  "This one looks interesting," she said.  "He has a write-up that is from some very satisfied client.  He talks about a barber shop dog that greets the clients."  Not long after that, I left the house to find Terry McCay's Barbershop on Winchester Road in Huntsville.  I had called ahead to make sure I didn't need an appointment.  Mr. McCay assured me that he'd be glad to see me come in at any time.  I got a great haircut at a fair price, was greeted by a very friendly dog, and met my new barber.

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