Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.
I Have to be Honest
with you—as honest in the day is long. I won’t gain one iota of respect, fame, or future riches manufactured by one lie told my yours truly. Didn’t we learn about cover-up’s during the Watergate Cover-up that led to President Nixon resigning? Sad is all I can make of this. After all, I was young and my opinions (at home) meant nothing, and all that I found out was what was on TV and Congressman Sam Irvin drilling the parties behind the Watergate Break-in (June. 1972)—and John Dean, one of Nixon’s least-envied employees talked for about three days, not at one time, but he knew how to use his mouth. Of course you would if you were talking to avoid Federal Prison.
Bit back in Feb. 7, 1964, the Beatles had been introduced into America in 1964 during their introduction to America’s teenagers in a wild concert in Shae Stadium, New York City. The Fab Four had been brought to America by Sid Berstein who is to be credited for making this event appear on millions of history books in America. Bernstein is also to be credited for another event:by bringing the Beatles to our nation, he started the “British Invasion.” What a time to be 11 in that time. But I was young in 1964, and never knew how to capitalize on it. Some have it. Some do not. At least this sentence sounded well.
Alas, my topic today is really not a direct view of Watergate, Richard Nixon, John Dean, or Sam Irvin. This piece has a lot to do with my late dad, who passed away in Sept. 2006 from living a very interesting, full life and he never told of ever being bored by anything or anyone. He kept busy most of the time. This, I suppose, is what kept the boredom from invading his mind or ideas.
My Dad was a Self-Taught
violinist, when he began playing this instrument at the age of seven. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army and came home with an Honorable Discharge. Later in his life, he married Mary Dean (Lee) Avery and was, in my opinion, the living example of a good husband and dad, because my sister was born before me and I came along in Nov. 27, 1953, but later got to watch my dad work on our car, or any of the neighbor’s cars and trucks besides being one of the best carpenters and brick masons. He also did his fair share of sharecropping and knew (to the inch) how many bales of cotton that his boss would be selling at our local cotton gin in Hamilton, AL.
To be truthful once again, I love my dad, but each time I recall one of his warm memories, I am made sad because I never told him just how much that I loved and appreciated him. Oh, I did tell him about loving and appreciating him from time to time, but now looking back, I wish that I could have told him on of my love for him and on a daily basis.
Let’s take a serious look at June, 1972—I had only been graduated from Hamilton High School, in the Class of 1972, and our school is still operating in Hamilton, Al. But due our family’s financial tight, I was not able to attend college, but I did get into the work force thanks to my good friend, James Childers, whom is still around and driving an over-the-road truck for a living. Childers and his two brothers, Gary and Glenn are solely-responsible for a lot of secret trouble that they (and myself) manufactured. Some memories, even those of the dark content, are fun to dwell on when life becomes mundane.
I Will Never Forget
(that) certain Saturday afternoon in June of 1972 when my dad, who lived by a certain time and purpose, said to me, “time for that haircut!” That spelled horror for me because at this juncture, I was only getting my hair to grow longer—just like my buddies and the rest in school who were struggling to make a Statement for Our Youth in 1972, and failed, but we tried valiantly.
We had the hip clothing. And the hip music, but what we lacked were two priceless ingredients: a rebellious spirit and longer hair to go with the remainder of our clothing and Rock Music. I almost forgot. We learned quickly how to talk in a hip manner simply because those big city hippies in New York City and Los Angeles, CA., were big into the Hippy Movement, and according to Walter Cronkite, CBS Evening News, this young person’s movement was bigger than what the establishment had thought. I use the Woodstock Art and Fair Festival (Aug. 15-Aug. 18, 1969) that was held in Bethel, New York, with those Rock icons: Jimi Hendrix; Janis Joplin; Canned Heat, and Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane, along with many others who gave their fans “three days of fun and music—and nothing but fun and music,” replied Max Yasgur, the farmer who leased the acreage for the Woodstock Festival to be held—and I am not a prophet, but I can tell you that he never worked again after he was paid.
You are probably asking, what does Woodstock, my dad, and Watergate have to do with a certain haircut in June 1972? Honestly, I cannot give you an intelligent answer, much less a deep philosophical reply, but all I can tell you is that during”this” haircut, I was showered with so much parental wisdom that I did not ask for, that I almost fainted. You can believe me or not.
Dad Announced That
I was to find one of our cane-bottom straight chairs that matched our kitchen so I could sit in it while dad was cutting my hair. Some Rural Family Rituals are to be honored. It is just too bad that it took me so many years to arrive at “that” fact.
I found the chair that my dad had asked for, sat down and relaxed as to not irritate him because if that were to happen, it would be ME who would see and feel his anger. He took out his electric hair trimmers, scissors, and comb and was ready to go to work. From the first buzz of the clippers to the last, I kept so still that my neck and back ached. I even shared this to dad, but he said, “a little pain is good for you,” and continued cutting my hair.
Of course, during the hour-long hair-cutting, I squirmed sligthly because sitting still was never one of my forte’s and with each squirm, my dad would growl, “if you had to go to where I did in the Army, you wouldn’t be squirming or your sergeant would be taking your head off,” and I did not argue this point, for I knew that he had served in the Army long enough to be honorably-discharged.
Then my dad hit upon “my” turf of where my friends and I lived and were struggling to be Real Hippies, but my dad didn’t ask if he could share his opinion—and that was fine. I was living in the house that he paid the rent and eating the food that he bought, so by me balking on his opinions would spell a fiery rebuke by him and I was not in the mood for that.
My dad continued to talk about long hair. “I know why that you want your hair long, it’s because of them Communist Beatles that caused our nation to change and make the young people burn their draft cards and disrespect our Military.”
“Dad, how can music performed by the Beatles or some American group cause this much turmoil in a nation of so many millions of young people. Huh?” I asked with a good-sounding answer.
“Just listen to their lyrics and you will understand. These four long-hairs sing about using drugs, not having any morals, and not having to work for a living. Is this, Kenny, the way that you want to live?” dad asked and he did not yell and that impressed me.
“No, dad. I don’t. I guess my friends and I are just young and trying to find our own way and we are not doing dope or anything harmful,” I explained.
Dad halfway smiled. Told me to get out of the straight chair because my haircut was finished. I thanked my dad for the haircut—then went to the bathroom window to check how I looked. Dad had cut my hair in the style that my dad (and his friends) wore and now I was feeling sad and old.
I was stunned when as my dad was finishing with my haircut when he said, “Kenny, I would give anything if you did NOT go to the Vietnam Conflict, but if you do, do all you can to honor our nation and get your butt home.”
But even at this young age, I knew that my dad was a lot more than all of those jobs that he had taught himself to do over the years—including a down-right, deep and thoughtful philosopher.
May 25, 2019______________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery