The place had a familiar feel. Deja vu comes close but off by a little. Even the spot where I sat had a sense of sameness and then it hit me and once again the old black and white movies started to play in the the theater of my mind.
Yesterday, Cookie and I were having our breakfast of eggs, cereal and crosswords and coming up with a plan for the day. We didn’t want to do any painting or house re-habing.We had been doing a lot of on her parents house we’re getting ready for sale.
I suggested that we do some light geocaching along Route 6 (Patterson Avenue) west and cut over to the Town of Louisa and hit Floozies Pie Shop. My friend, Bill Lohmann, had done an article about Floozies, and when you write as well as Bill you can make pie seem pretty irresistible.
So we piled into our Subaru and headed west on Patterson in search of geocaches and pie. The geocaches were far and few but the scenery was gorgeous and we listened to a few The Moth podcasts along the way.
As we pulled into the Town of Louisa I was amazed at how much it had changed over the years. I grew up in Louisa on the eastern end of the county as far away as you can get from the town and still be in Louisa.
We parked on Main Street about a block from the restaurant and walked along the busy street in search of Floozies (I just realized how bad that sentence sounded). It was crazy busy on this Saturday before the 4th of July. Large American flags lined both sides of the street. We walked past several restaurants along the way, and I told Cookie that the only place to eat when I was growing up here was a Pizza Hut (still there by the way).
We walked into Floozies and decided to have lunch and get the pie to go. We were seated at a table near the right hand wall, and as I sat down a strange feeling came over me. It was a feeling of belonging and calmness. Then the movie started to play.
If you were a boy in the late 50’s and early 60’s you had one choice of haircuts – the crew cut. My dad had one his whole adult life, and so by default I had one. This required regular trips to the barbershop which for us were every other Saturday. My dad would get me out of bed super early, and we would get there a full half hour before Callahan’s Barbershop would open. We would park in small lot down the street from the storefront, and if my dad’s friend, George Badgett, was there, we would pile in his car to talk and stay warm during the cold winter days.
The barbershop was like thousands across America back then. Two large, heavy cast iron barber chairs, combs soaking in a jar of blue solution, and a machine that dispensed hot lather for shaves and neck touch ups. Mr. Callahan was like a god to me. He was in the same boat in my mind as my doctor and preacher. While there was talk of sports and politics, most of the talk was about hunting and fishing.
Mr. Callahan was fast when it came to dispensing his crewcuts. My favorite part was when he put the hot lather on the back of my neck, then took the single edge razor and swiped it on the strop and shaved the back of my neck.
My dad would give me my allowance to take to the five and dime next door for important purchases, while he was getting the same haircut. I don’t remember many of the purchases; except for a pocket knife one time and Silly Putty another. Back then if you were a boy, a pocket knife was a requirement, that went with you even to school. Different times.
As I had sat in my chair at Floozies, I realized that this restaurant was probably in the exact same location as the barbershop was many, many years ago. Perhaps occupying that specific space had triggered those long ago memories of hot lather and dime store visits.
The lunch was delicious as was to be expected. We paid our bill and took our mixed berry pies. On the way out, we stopped to look at Bill’s article proudly displayed on a beam in the middle of eatery. We walked slowly to car soaking in the quaintness of it all. The American flags, the soul food restaurant, the courthouse across the street and the barbecue joint down the street were reminders of a simpler time that was still accessible if you looked for it.
I took the long way home to visit my brother in Bumpass, and along the way pointed out memories to Cookie. My Uncle Ronald’s house, Willie Sprouse’s cabinet shop and the fireworks stand that has been there forever, served as portals back in time.
To be quite honest I don’t know what lesson there is to had from the pie/barbershop experience other than I’m pretty easy to please. A nice with lunch with a pretty wife, hot lather on the back of my neck, dime store buys and a great piece of pie on a Fourth of July weekend seem to move the needle for me; whether I’m eight or fifty eight. I kinda like that about myself.
Click on the orange “Floozies” word link to read Bill Lohmann’s Time Dispatch article.