End of An Era
By Floyd Miller
End of an EraBy Floyd MillerWest Texas TribuneSaturday morning, June 25th, was somewhat of a somber morning at Lena’s BarberShop.Mrs. Jones was upbeat, but her customers were in a flective mood and wondering where they would go for grooming in the future. Mrs. Jones has been a stable force in the business community for 44 years. She began cutting hair in 1961. She has been my barber since 1985. When I arrived at her shop at 9:15 AM, the pictures had been taken down from the wall, and a box on the counter was filled with plaques and awards she had received over the years. Charles Titus, one of her regular customers, was in the chair when I arrived. Mrs. Jones recalled cutting his hair before he was married. She saw him marry and raise two sons, who also became her customers. You could tell from their conversation that Charles and Mrs. Jones appreciate the friendship they have had over the years. As I took my turn in the chair, I could not help but think of some of the topics that Mrs. Jones must have heard discussed over the last 44 years in her shop;1963 – Assassination of President Kennedy.1964 – Passage of the Civil Rights legislation under President Lyndon Johnson. The Birmingham bombings that killed 4 girls. The killing of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia Mississippi,James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. 1968 – The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The Intergration of Abilene Schools Vietnam War – Late 60’s – Early 70’s1969 – The landing on the moon which probably involved, “did they really go to the moon?” 1974 – The Resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.1986-Present –Oprah Winfrey Show1987- The stock market crash.1991- Desert Storm1994-1995 – O.J. Simpson trial. 1992-1998 The Clinton Years2001 9/11 Terrorist Attack in the United States War in IraqThe other discussion on this particular Saturday was the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen of manslaughter in the 1964 slaying of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. We all agreed that “Justice delayed is still justice.”We finally had an answer to the question that men pondered four decades ago in Mrs. Lena’s Shop. Mrs. Jones minister, Andrew Penns said,” she has been a silent hero in the community, she has donated to many causes without bringing attention to herself.” He said ,”she has proven that one can do whatever that wish no matter what the challenges may be.”After 30 minutes or so in Mrs. Jones chair, she asked the question that she has asked me many times, “How does it look Brother Miller”. As I looked into the mirror, I knew that it was truly “The End Of An Era”.Mrs. Jones plans to spend her time gardening, and taking care of her beautiful yard. She also would like to express her appreciation and gratitude to all of her customers. She said that she could not have made it without you.If any of you would like to share your experiences with Mrs. Jones, or just wish her well, please read her story on the web and enter your comments in the opinion section. www.westtexastribune.com
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