19 innings without losing your hat

Published 5:51 pm Monday, May 23, 2022

Recently while umpiring in Greenville, every time the pitcher delivered the ball toward the catcher his hat would fall off.  That made me think that the new style that youngsters are wearing their hair today is different from the way we wore ours.  Now, do not get me wrong, my own grandsons have long hair just like that pitcher from Greenville and if they pitched their hat would fall off too.

Thinking back to our neighborhood, the only person that had shaggy hair was Phil Edwards.  He wore his baseball cap but kept it pulled down as he pitched, never losing it.  William Neal had short hair so we all had better kept ours cut so it looked like his.  He was the biggest guy in the neighborhood with the exception of Joe Stalls, who lived on Eleventh Street.

My dad made me keep my hair cut like a GI Joe.  I could walk from John Small to Mr. Paul Leggett’s and beside it was where my dad’s best friend growing up cut hair.  Leroy Canady had a chair next to Mr. Toler (Steve Toler’s dad) and I could go to the barber shop and get Mr. Leroy to cut my hair and my dad would drop by and pay the $1.00 after I got it cut.  He usually got his hair cut sometime that same week. Mr. Leroy never said a word and he would give me a GI Joe cut.

 Even after I went to college and would return home for the weekend if my dad saw it over my ears he would tell me, “Boy, go get a haircut because it is covering your ears “.  He never failed to say that and I always went to see Mr. Leroy and got my haircut.

 There were so many barber shops in town at that time.  There was one at the corner of Market and Main Streets and one right beside the Turnage Theatre.  Of course, my barber was right on the way home from school so it was easy for me to get my hair cut.  Daddy Ray got his cut at the big barber shop on Main Street and he always was slick-looking after a haircut.  He would always wear a suit and had to have his haircut and a good shave.

When I left for Randolph Macon Academy, my dad took me to the barber shop and told Mr. Leroy to cut it close.  I got up there and the Academy took you to town if your hair was not cut close.

Young men; if you like your hair shaggy in the back that is ok.  Be like Phil Edwards and have that shag look because he was a good basketball and baseball player too.  Matter of fact, he holds the record for the longest high school baseball game ever played vs. Tarboro and Mike Caldwell. They pitched for nineteen innings against each other. Mike went on to have a great career in the majors.  Neither lost their hat as they pitched in any inning.  If you do not believe me, just ask Burger Drake!!!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.!  The Original Washington!

Harold, Jr.