Say a Prayer for the Old Barber

On Personal Growth and Reciprocity

Anthony Ponder has been cutting hair for most of his life. He has also spent a lot of time in prison. Ponder lost his equipment the last time he was incarcerated. A pair of Macon, GA churches have set him up with gear again. In return he is cutting hair on Sunday mornings for other men in transition.

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“I was told that my father was a barber. My father got killed when I was seven years old but I often heard that he was a barber. Maybe that stuck in my head that I wanted to be like my father.”
“I started when I was about in the tenth grade. I just picked up some clippers and started cutting.”
“Then when I get shipped off to prison that’s where I normally work, in the barber. Population barber. So I’ve got plenty of practice. Unfortunately.”
“Before I went, I had tools, right. I was staying at like a boarding house and I got arrested at night and everything got left there. So when I came out this time, I didn’t have anything.”
“I got out on a Tuesday. August 18th. I got home in Macon 10:30 at the bus station and I didn’t know where to go. I actually went to my uncle’s house and slept in his old truck in the back yard.”
“Mr. Eric approached me and asked if I still wanted to volunteer and cut hair. I had asked him that before I went to prison when I had my own stuff.”
“So Mr. Eric, we had a conversation he said he had a way that he could buy all the tools for me if I worked so many times cutting hair he would donate them to me.”
“When they sit in the chair they are at my command, basically. And I get a lot of good stuff from them. And I give them something back also.”
“I want to give him some hope. Like I have. That’s my aim. Give him hope. Let him know there is hope. There’s a better way. If he’s down and depressed and discouraged, let him know there’s a better way.”
“This last trip in prison made me better in a lot of areas. In the past I wouldn’t have been that way. I’ve learned, just let stuff go now. I’m better. I’m better.”
“Pray for the barber. That’s my payment. Just pray for the old Barber.”

Originally published at medium.com on September 25, 2015.