A Nice Day Via a Haircut, a Couple of Tight Hugs, and a Meal at a Cafe

by on April 12, 2021 · 7 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

I had a very nice day the other day.

Not because, “I didn’t,” as Ice Cube once rapped, “have to use my AK,” which I don’t happen to own anyway, by the way, but because I got my first haircut in many a day, not wanting, during the pandemic, to give into my vanity in any way. No sirree. I took that stuff seriously.

And my trip to the barber shop, one I had never visited, was just what I needed in my path back to normalcy. Whatever that happens to be. I stepped into the place, walking one kind of way, and then suddenly I put a little dance in my step as I sought a seat, moving to the beat of some rather mellow funky R&B sounds playing in the background and I sat down slightly moving my head and shoulders to the feeling that was enveloping me.

And the next thing I knew I was engaged in some playful Black barbershop repartee and I happened to mention, as my hair was being cut away, that it now seemed more gray and one of the barbers commented that meant I was more wise, and would I lay a little wisdom on them.

“Like what I might ask?” to which one barber replied “What’s the difference between a boy and a man?” and another asked “What advice would you give your 28 year-old self?”

And my answers were “Age” and “You’re on the right, track, Jack” – as I’ve seen boys be responsible men and I’ve known men who could not leave the foolish aspects of their boyhood behind and at age 28 I was having a good time teaching and learning with a classroom of sixth graders who I loved and who loved me.

“Go on then,” one of them said to me without the “wit yo bad self” ending that we recited back in my day.

What a reentry to life. I left those delightful guys with my hair literally sheared down to a comb-able size that made me look a bit more civilized, ready to really enjoy life again.

Then to add to an already great day I took a pile of ten children’s books to my little grandchildren, Marley and Lyric, to which Marley said soft and matter-of-factly “I like to read” which made me smile and say “Me too” and Lyric was full of memories of the things we used to do before the world seemed to turn upside down, asking me “Grampy, you remember when you used to take me to the park all the time and that time you took me to that place (the Malcolm X Library) and we wrote poems and there were other kids there too?” “I sure do, dude, because some of the greatest times in my life have been spent with you.”

He smiled and Marley smiled and I smiled and hugged them tightly with a few tears of joy in my eyes as I remembered, in those moments, that in the past year I had wondered every now and then if I would ever hold them in my arms again.

When I left those descendants of mine, I could feel, as I drove away, my life slowly getting back to the way it had been, as I was heading to a nice eatery where I sat and read a novel that I’m finding very hard to put down.

As I pored through the pages, riveted by the tale, I sipped a refreshing tasty orange mimosa and greased on some ham and scrambled eggs and a nicely buttered biscuit that tasted so good I downed every crumb – all this served by a delightful woman named Patricia who was wearing a mask which couldn’t come close to hiding her wonderful personality, her warm friendliness, the sincerity, for instance, in the way she thanked me for a nice tip which is always a welcomed addition to a food server’s pay.

Leaving the café for home, I took the streets rather than the freeway just to take in the sights of neighborhoods and people going about their day, just to be out and about myself, not in a hurry, just moving at my own pace.

I drove home with a big smile on my face and it broadened when I walked through my front door and Maria, mi querida, said “You look cute.”

That sweetened an already “Orale, ese!” kind of day, a day that reminded me it’s so easy sometimes to have a good day.

I mean, all it might take is a haircut, a couple of tight hugs, and a meal at a café.

I hope everybody is getting their lives back in some pretty nice ways.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

BARBARA LEWIS April 12, 2021 at 2:43 pm

Yes, Mr. McCray…..I love it too!


Judy April 12, 2021 at 9:18 pm

That was a fun upbeat read. Made me feel good. And yes you do look cute. Judy


Barb April 12, 2021 at 10:17 pm

Love your writing style Ernie! Loved you then (Cabrillo) and love you now. Life now, is all about hugging our grandchildren!


david beekman April 13, 2021 at 9:09 am

Good one Ernie…. It’s been a long time since I had to admonish the barber to: ”Just cut off the gray ones.” now they are all white… : )


Linda April 13, 2021 at 5:02 pm

We celebrated Tyler’s 39th bday this week. Got to hug my one and only granddaughter Sunday. And the rest of the family for the first time in over a year. The world is looking a little brighter these days. Thank you for sharing.


S G April 18, 2021 at 10:04 am

Now I’m curious, Mr. McCray, what is the name of the novel worthy of your attention, so much so, you could not put it down? And what makes this novel a riveting tale?


Virginia Franco April 25, 2021 at 3:59 pm

Now, that’s a great smile Ernie!!
Am so happy you are enjoying life as always; a refreshing pose from you, gives me joy to see you always adding joy to many hearts, Querido Amigo. — Virginia


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: