My communications studies began long before Western Kentucky University’s classrooms and student newspaper. Before the professors and editors, I learned from farmers, shopkeepers, lawyers and factory workers who packed my father’s country barbershop.
Just 12, I sat in Dad’s one-chair shop on a repurposed church pew to hear gossip, political speeches and bawdy jokes that I didn’t completely understand. But storytelling wasn’t the greatest lesson I learned. It was the importance of listening to people from all walks of life, backgrounds, faiths and philosophies.
In a nation divided, we need places where people are united. I miss Dad’s barbershop.