John Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 30, 2010

John Howell Sr.

Old friend — hair neither thin nor gray — not fading away fading away, nor does his hair thin

Elsewhere in this issue — pages 6 and 14 — you’ll find enough photos to draw a conclusion that today’s newspaper is some kind of special retirement edition for Jerry Lightsey.

After all, Lightsey and I are old friends and classmates. Today is his last day at Heafner Motors. Our other classmates will join me as we use Lightsey as a bellwether for retirement.

Nevertheless, this is not a Jerry Lightsey special retirement edition. For most of the 34 years that Jerry Lightsey has been a salesman for Heafner Motors, he’s been a thorn in my side. That’s because he’s been overblessed with hair, hoarding far more than his share atop his head while during these three-plus decades my hair first thinned and then disappeared, leaving this shiny, bright dome in its place.

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“Get a haircut,” I have invariably told him by way of greeting each time I’ve seen him during these 30-odd years.

“Just did,” has just as invariably been his reply.

Compounding the affront is that Lightsey’s hair refuses to turn gray, mostly. What little is left around my head and the beard that I seem to be able to grow with abundance has gone from gray to white. The photo above was taken in 2004. Since then everything has lightened such that my wife tells me that I look like I’m fading away.

But Lightsey’s not fading away, he’s retiring. I join his employers, co-workers and a gaggle of friends who wish him the best.