Exceeding Expectations

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D.C. Floyd gives back with style

By Paul Jones

Contributing Writer

When you or I hold an expectation for something it tends to fall in one of three basic categories. An expectation can go unfulfilled, it can be met, or an expectation can be exceeded.

Upon walking into Country Boy Cutz for the first time, it could certainly be said that the environment there well exceeded my expectations.

It is a Thursday afternoon, just after 4:45 p.m. and the low winter sun is gilding the building and customers in gold relief. Once I open the door, I am greeted with a remarkably prodigious smile from D.C. Floyd. It’s the same smile I remember during my high school years. We graduated together from WHS long before the new middle/high school was even dreamed about. I won’t say how long.

Inside the waiting area are people of many different ages, races and ethnicities. Of all the barber shops and salons I’ve been inside, Country Boy Cutz is the most diverse. D.C. stays busy as we talk. He’s as electric as the buzzing clippers he’s using to shape a young boy’s hair. He is meticulous as he trims the edges and clips the hairline just so. Strewn about the chair is the lightly colored chaff from his current client. Only his. Between each haircut D.C. cleans the area as if it is close to godliness. Or he pays one of the young children there to sweep. D.C. proffers a broom and dustpan to a young man, perhaps 12 years of age, and he accepts with vivacity. He pays him accordingly.

D.C. is booked solid the first day that I am there. And the second and third. Each time I visit, I find children playing outside, next door in the small lot where the Williston Sun used to hold its business office. A large sign on the edge of the lot by the sidewalk tells me it is for rent, but I am more struck by the genuine affability and playfulness between the kids who’ve just had their haircuts or who are waiting to receive one. By the third visit there I realize that this is a community, the kind of community that you would like to revisit.

When D.C. and I were in high school he would give haircuts on the side to other students. He had a talent then, or what some people refer to as a “flair”, for styling hair.

Upon watching him and listening to him talk about cutting hair I realize that he’s added something that I didn’t detect all those years ago: passion.

Passion is not an emotion, at least by my standards. Passion is a devotion to something, a craft in this case, that is coupled with exacting standards of workmanship. D.C. illustrates this in deed, but I also appreciate what he uses in word as well.

“You got to understand something, Paul," he said. "This is the community that built me up. This is where I learned my work ethic so I have to give back!”

When I say D.C. provides this in deed, I mean it quite literally. He dedicated one full day of his work week (and subsequently his pay) each in summer and winter to provide haircuts for the needy children in our area- free of charge.

During my visits I began to understand more fully the role of a barber in a community in ways that I could not have expected before. A barber, and D.C. fully personifies this role, is a catalyst for new possibilities and palpable change. Each person walks out of the door afterward with his or her shoulders a bit higher than before, with grins just a smidge wider. Something as simple as a fresh haircut can bring about a new perspective for a person. As a practitioner of change, a barber can envision not only what a haircut will look like, but can also visualize what a client has in mind for it.

The nearby buildings begin to occlude the waning sun and the air outside is taking on a cool blue pallor.

I had been outside photographing several elementary school children as they played tag up and down the sidewalk when an older couple came up to me. Their grinning grandson Daxton had just finished getting his haircut.

His grandfather proudly announced, “I want you to know this, and I’m not just saying this, D.C. is the best barber we’ve ever had.” His wife nodded in agreement. After watching D.C. in action, I believe them.

Paul Jones, a Williston High School graduate, works in his family's business, dabbles in writing and explores his passion – photography. His work is frequently featured in the Williston Pioneer. Photos from his many visits to Country Boy Cutz may be found on page 6 of this edition. All photos were taken with vintage film cameras.