Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Old Hippy

He came into the store again. He had been there before with another leather-bound friend. I'm not sure where the bikes were parked, but I knew an old biker when I saw one....who wouldn't!

Sometimes people come into the store with their stories. They don't realize it when they walk in, but they want to talk. I would make a good bartender. Seems like people always bring their stories to me. I don't mind listening. If I were on the other side of that bar, I'd want someone to listen to me. Okay, it's not a bar, its the counter at Hallmark.

I don't know what brought on this conversation, but this man in the leather jacket with his belly hanging over his belt and an unkempt beard on his chin wanted to talk. We started talking about the music of the sixties and the unrest that came along with it. Soon we were sharing stories of this aged 60's generation who stretched the limits in a 50' thinking society.

"I was kicked out of school for wearing shoes without socks," he said. Then he added, "That was the first time. The principal came up to me at a ballgame and told me that I didn't look like one of their students and needed to leave. He then kicked me out of school because my hair was too long."

It took me back. We had a student in our class who was suspended because he had long hair. It probably didn't help that he wore a leather jacket as well. He didn't look like the rest of us in our 'acceptable' clothing.

This man before me went on to tell me that he had done the drug thing along with the hippie movement. After his life dipped as low as it could go, he got his GED then put himself through college receiving a Masters in chemistry. Now he was retired from Intel and missing the old days when 'freedom' was new. Dick Clark had just died along with Levon Helm of The Band. This guy was feeling his age.

I didn't have much to add to this conversation. I was just the Hallmark 'bartender'. I stood there with dust cloth in hand thinking that I should be drying a beer mug. He left the store telling me he would be back again. I knew he would. I think I need a tip jar.

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