“Come in, Alvin,” Ricardo “Ric” Ruiz’s always friendly voice boomed.
I am still outside. He must be able to see through the wall. He’s sort of a superman, cutting hair for over 34 years. He and his wife are raising their 5-year-old grandson after their daughter passed away, just weeks before her graduation from Galveston Community College. But Ric, as a superman, arranged for the college to recognize her and award her degree.
This morning he hugged me and shared he was sorry about the loss of my 94-year-old mother as he slipped a card into my hand.
“She lived a very full life,” I replied.
The customer in the chair with a full head of hair turned the talk to golf carts on the streets.
“No seat belts, kids hanging off the back and sometimes driving. Carts on avenues O and P turning left from the right-hand curb and such. You should write about these carts. Who drives those things?”
“Not me, I like steel between me and tourist drivers.”
“Speaking of tourist, when is your next cruise?”
“We’re off to Belize and Honduras with friends.”
“Which cruise line?”
This sparks an amazing analysis of the cruise lines serving not only Galveston but the Florida ports as well. All favorable reviews, understanding you get what you pay for.
“What about those Astros and Dodgers?”
“They are my favorite team for each League.”
“Who are you going to root for?”
The Dodgers are favorites from childhood — the Astros since retirement.”
“Go with your heart,” my granddaughter said. So, I hope for seven wonderful games. Houston after Harvey is in my heart, but my betting would be on the Dodgers. But I don’t bet.
A bit of politics: “Tax reforms will all go to the very rich. What else is new?”
“How could he be so disrespectful to a Gold Star wife?”
Many answers quickly bubble up at once. Some remark one word, others blistering statements and other shakes of the head. Most are veterans and probably conservative, all at a loss to explain the daily chaos.
“Is the new city pool open? Looks finished and nice from the outside. Each time I’ve been over there it’s closed. I’ve told too few lifeguards, tile work not finished and, on the wrong day, we were closed.”
“If I was asked to contribute to the pool fund now, I would hand them a glass of water.”
“Motorcycle week is coming. I’m leaving town.”
“Why do they need to roar at 3 a.m.?”
“Hunker down and they’ll be gone soon. We live on the West End.”
“How are the neighbors?”
“Olga is doing well, amazing woman. Toni is back.”
And on it goes. Better than Facebook or 140 characters. Seems there is more understanding and civility down at the barber shop. Even bald, I drop by often — after all, my goatee may need a trim.