By Sue Moore
Bud Mason’s business is almost 99 percent men, and the only male barber left in Vicksburg. He bemoans that he is the “Last of the Mohicans,” as he started cutting hair in Kalamazoo in 1963 and recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with wife Jane.
He started in Vicksburg in August 1976, purchasing Dick VanSchoick’s shop. There was a time when a beautician by law couldn’t cut men’s hair. Then men started wearing their hair long and guys started going to stylists in the early 70s, he said. Then it came back to short again about ten years ago and now back to a combination of short and long, he observes.
“A barber’s worst critic is the wife who wants this or that as she checks his haircut out. They send the husband in with a picture but maybe they don’t have the hair for it,” he said. Styles change but guys have basically stayed the same. When kids used to come in, we cut it the way the parents wanted it. Then it changed and the kids got cut the way they wanted it. Shaving men largely ceased when the fear of HIV came in.
Times may change but one thing that hasn’t is the ‘round’ table next door at Rise n’ Dine restaurant where the town locals debate world and local events over coffee, breakfast or lunch, Mason said. The location used to be Marjo’s until a fire in the kitchen forced it to close. Meanwhile, Mason experienced some serious heart problems and was closed for three months while the doctors treated him for a irregular heartbeat. He is now back serving the long-time clients, three days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and looking forward to the opening of golf season and some warm weather fishing this summer.