Saraland, AL, — (2012) The City Barber Shop has been in business for as long as I can remember; it is owned and operated by a guy named Roger. It is the place where I remember getting my first hair cut. I must have been around 4 or 5. My dad took me and Roger put a board on the barber chair so I would sit up high enough. I always asked for a “GI,” which was the easiest haircut possible. I doubt that that was my first haircut, it is just the first memory I have. I am pretty sure that my elderly sister used to cut my hair before then.
This morning I got up early and was at his place at 7:30. Because Roger takes a little longer than others, I knew I had to be first in line to go on to other things I had planned. However, the wait is worth it for a really good haircut.
What I like about visiting Roger’s is that I get to meet people who reconnect me with forgotten memories and sometimes correct faulty memories.
Case in point: I met a guy today who’d graduated from Satsuma 12 years before I did. As we spoke we learned we had some connections; he worked in the A/C business (I once sort-of worked in this business) and we both went to Satsuma High School. But what caught my attention was his last name.
I played baseball for the Shelton Beach Pharmacy Wildcats for three years. This was my first time to play organized baseball; I was 10. Coach Byrd was, well, the coach. I have memories of going over to his house on McKeough Street to try on uniforms, of riding in the back of his green pickup truck to practice, and of his love of coaching.
As I spoke with the guy at Roger’s I learned that he and Coach Byrd were brothers. I had thought about my coach many times in my life. Once, he allowed me to pitch during practice – a mistake that Ernie Carlisle regretted as I threw a wild pitch right into Ernie’s back. Thankfully, he didn’t charge the mound. I also remember the confidence that I gained by playing for Coach Byrd.
Sadly, his brother told me that Coach Byrd had passed away several years ago. Mr. Byrd said that Coach Byrd’s wife sold her house and moved away after that.
I need to make it over to Roger’s more often.
A sad footnote: Last year when we drove down for my brother’s funeral, I saw that Roger’s barbershop was being refurbished. I didn’t think anything of it because it had always needed to have the floor raised because it flooded with just a little rain. Sadly, the shop was being readied for new tenants because Roger had passed away. To my surprise, I learned that he had passed away in 2014. Rest in peace Roger. Best barber – wonderful person.