Monday, 28 May 2018

Franco the barber

This photo was taken by my friend - Angeliki Coconi
Earlier this year San Miniato lost one of its most colorful characters - Franco the Barber. And by lost, I don't mean he disappeared into the sea never to be seen again (a la Harold Holt) or he got caught up in a magic trick gone awry :-( if only this were the case.

I remember noticing at the time his barber shop was closed, which was unusual, but I had figured it was cold and an 85-year-old man had surely earned the right to a sleep in from time to time. Then I saw the local voluntary ambulance folk ferreting amongst the clutter in his shop and I began to wonder.
I had also noticed a sign on the walls of the village announcing the passing of a Franco Oliva but I hadn't connected the dots because I never knew his surname. Anyway by the time I put it all together, genius that I am, I had missed the funeral  - by only one day. I felt really disappointed.

This photo was taken by my friend - Angeliki Coconi
This photo was taken by my friend - Angeliki Coconi

I liked Franco. He always wore a bright red jumper, was slightly pervy, and gave me pens with lamps on them. We had always waved every time I passed his shop - well, when he wasn't cutting the hair off bald men's heads that was. We had a running banter about him loving summer and me loving winter and now as the heat has begun to suffocate the days I find myself thinking of him often.

It took me a while to find his final resting place. First, I visited the wrong cemetrery. Then I visited the correct one but had been misinformed he was at the back when actually he was at the front. Finally this week I found him so I told him all about the heat and how sorry I was I never got to say goodbye. I feel particuarly sad about this because in the weeks leading to his death I had hardly spoken to him. It was early January and I was still much consumed by Three Paw I could barely look up. I wish I had just once, if only to say goodbye.

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