It’s early on a cold Friday morning in Odessa, Texas. Early enough that the traffic lights are still asleep and the roads are still empty.
But one light is on at 4:30, as it always is, at one location or another for over half a century.
“I’ve got customers who I’ve been cutting their hair for 50 years,” said barber Saul Garcia.
It seems preposterous, but Garcia opens Saul’s Barber Shop on N. Grant St. around 5 a.m. each day. What’s more preposterous is people show up at that time for one of his haircuts.
“I’ve been getting my hair cut by Saul since I was in high school. 1985 or somewhere in there,” said one customer.
That’s around the time Garcia tried to retire...the first time.
“I thought I was going to retire, but then another barber shop came up for sale, so I bought it and barbered there for another 26 years,” Garcia said. “I sold that one two or three years ago and decided to move here.”
But all of those moves are within Odessa, and Garcia oozes Odessa.
He brags about cutting hair for members of the 1946 Odessa Bronchos, the last time Odessa High won a football state championship. And the worry on his face is still evident when he talks about how the town struggled in the wake of the 80s oil bust.
The walls of his barbershop are adorned with Odessa memorabilia. He talks passionately, and for a man going on 84-years old, moves like he found the fountain of youth.
“You wouldn’t think that he was 83-84 years old,” said co-worker Marisol Jacquez. “He has more energy than I do some days. It’s good motivation.”
Motivated might be the best way to describe Garcia, whose current clientele are the grandchildren of his original customers.
“I’m not going to be sitting at home waiting until something happens to me,” Garcia said. “I’m just going to keep working until the last day of my life, I hope.”
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