Rural Missouri - April 2013 - (Page 48)

N E I G H B O R S The Ceaseless Charles For more than four decades, Charles Parrish has been a Bootheel barber “He can always get you talking,” says Alan McRoy of Dexter, who stopped in for a cut with his two-yearomething happens old grandson, Bryson. “He when you drop seems to know everything down off the hills about the people in this around Poplar Bluff town because he has been and reach the flats of Misa part of it for so long. That souri’s Bootheel. Besides and don’t get him started the obvious topography talking about the Cardichange from the rugged nals. You’ll never leave.” Ozark Mountains to the Charles’ love for the St. seemingly endless cropLouis baseball team is evilands, there is a different dent from the few photos feel to the southeastern on the wall of famous playchunk of the Show-Me ers, but anyone who has State. ever mentioned the “Birds “There are several counon the Bat” to Charles can ties in the area, but it all tell you about a time when feels like one family,” says he has talked their ear off. Charles Parrish, who lives He knows everything just outside of Dexter. “I about the team — from his don’t know what it is, but days watching famed outI love it here more than fielder Lou Brock to the latanywhere else.” est youngsters coming up. Just like many longtime “He also knows more residents, Charles has about the history of high called the Bootheel home school sports than anyfor almost all of his life one,” says Alan, also an and wouldn’t have it any Ozark Border member. other way. For more than For several years, four decades, he’s held a Charles Parrish, left, gives 2-year-old Bryson a trim at Parrish Barber Shop in Dexter. When Charles first Charles was in charge of special place in the lives took over the barbershop in 1970, a haircut cost just $1.25. Forty-three years later, a cut now costs $10, the area’s youth baseball of many around Stoddard but the same chair and the same barber are there for a welcoming experience and warm conversation. programs, director of the County as a barber in town’s parks and recreation Dexter. department and a proud patron of Dexter Bearcat included a written exam and, most importantly, a “I started working here in 1970 and have been high school sports programs. supervised shave and haircut. ever since,” says Charles. “Through 43 years, I “I get to watch these kids grow up,” says “Of course you brought someone in that you have had the same shop and the same chair.” Charles. “From the days watching them play basehad cut their hair before, so it looked like you The Parrish Barber Shop along Locust Street ball to now seeing them with a family, it’s great to knew what you were doing,” Charles laughs. in downtown Dexter might be see these folks through the years.” hard to find with its unpretenAfter getting his barber license, Charles knew As Charles reaches his 70th birthday this tious exterior, but inside, past the he wanted to return to his beloved Bootheel. month, he shows no signs of stopping or retiring iconic tri-colored barber’s pole is Luckily, an opportunity came to work his coveted Koken barber’s chair. in Dexter. Richard Miller, who had a bara warm atmosphere of friends tell“Besides a few upholstery jobs, she’s orginal,” bershop down the street from the shop ing stories about high school football, says Charles. “I don’t see any need to quit either. Charles was working in, had to have town gossip and what’s going on in On days when the fish are biting, I might close surgery and was going to be off work the world today. Dexter • up shop for a little while, but people understand. for a year. He turned the reins over “I guess if you have been around And with a job like this, it’s warm in the winter to Charles. A year passed and Richard as long as I have, you kind of get to and cool in the summer. I’ve got it made.” decided he didn’t want to come back to know everyone,” says Charles, an Ozark Charles also has no desire to leave southeast his shop, so it was up to Charles to carry on the Border Electric Cooperative member. “There Missouri, as he attributes the area’s superb fishbusiness, which he still runs today. are very few people that are in Dexter and this ing spots and plentiful hunting grounds as reason When Charles first started, a haircut was only county that I haven’t cut their hair at some time enough to stay. His wife, Dorothy, still works for $1.25. Today, prices have changed, but a haircut or another.” in the Dexter school administration building, and still only costs $10. Special cuts will only pull Charles’ career as a barber began in 1967, after his two daughters also have followed suit and live an extra dollar from your pocket. He once did growing up in nearby Gray Ridge and spending only a few minutes outside of town. shaves, but due to arthritis problems in his hands, time in the United States Army. “I just love this area and what I do,” says he no longer offers that service. For nearly a year, he studied at Moler Barber Charles. “From people on welfare to millionaires, “I am about the only one left that finishes a College in St. Louis. But before he could get his they all need haircuts and they come to me. I get cut with a straight edge though,” smiles Charles. license, he had to complete an apprenticeship to be a part of their lives.” “I still got that skill.” with a barber. He once again found himself in Walking through the doors of the Parrish Barsoutheast Missouri, assisting and learning the Parrish Barber Shop is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesber Shop is like taking a trip back to simpler times. craft from a barber in Bernie, just a few minutes day through Friday, and is located at 8 N. Locust St. There is no radio blaring with the latest top hits drive from his hometown. in downtown Dexter. Call Charles at 573-820-4091 or flat-screen televisions or even a receptionist. It After his apprenticeship ended, it was time to to schedule a hair appointment. is just Charles and his great knack for storytelling. head back to St. Louis for a final test — which by Kyle Spradley kspradley@ruralmissouri.coop S 48 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2013

Rural Missouri - April 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Companion planting
News Briefs
Operation cooperation
Outdoors
It’s all about redemption
Best of rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
Marmaduke’s Cape expedition
Around Missouri
Marketplace
The soldier’s paper
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - April 2013

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