I got a haircut today. My barber was a short man with white hair, and a thick Cajun accent. His friends call him “Spike.” I could hardly understand a word Spike said through his accent.
He laughs too much. I love old men who laugh too much. And he is a good storyteller.
When it was over, I thanked him for the haircut.
He shook my hand and said, “Se pa aryen, Meh Sha.”
He translated: “Don’t mention it, boy.”
Then he taught me how to say “thank you” in the French-Cajun tongue.
“Bien merci,” he explained.
So I tried it. “Bee-YEN mare-SEE, sir,” said I.
This made him laugh until he turned purple.
“Keep trying, boy!” he said.
Next, I went to Cracker Barrel for early lunch. While I ate, my phone vibrated. My wife texted me a hardware store list that was longer than an unfurled roll of Charmin toilet paper.
So, I shoved bacon and eggs down my gullet and went to pay. In the
cashier line there was a girl with a scarf wrapped around her bald head. We talked.
Her name is Julia, she is eighteen, from Bowling Green. She is in town enjoying the beach for a few days. This is the first time she ever saw the Gulf of Mexico. Ever.
“I can’t actually go in the water,” she explained. “Doctor says there’s too much bacteria, my body can’t deal with that.”
But she’s here just the same, and that counts for something.
Before she left the restaurant, her father bought her a straw sunhat. She modeled it for her family. She is one of the most beautiful girls I ever saw.
Enjoy the beach, Julia.
The hardware store—I saw at least fifty people I know. It was a regular homecoming parade.
I can’t go to the hardware store without…