Super Senior: Bob Gleason - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Bob Gleason

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ENOSBURGH, Vt. -

Bob Gleason has one of the shortest commutes of anyone in Enosburgh.  He leaves his childhood home for his place of business-- arrival time: 30 seconds.

"I have a lot of customers for over 50 years," he said.

It's the original "man cave"-- the barbershop.

"I thought I would wear out before the chair would wear out, but I think the chair is going to go first," Bob said.

Call it what you want; rustic, vintage or just plain comfortable. It's what you might expect from the only barbershop in town. There isn't a sign out front or even a phone, it's walk-ins only.

This morning, it's a family affair.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Who is he?

Bob Gleason: He happens to be my brother.

Bob can't count how many times he's trimmed his older brother Stuart's hair. Bob has been cutting in Franklin County since the 1950s.

"My customers pretty much have the same," Bob said. "Short fairly close."

Shortly after he built his shop back in the early 1970s, business hit a dry patch. It was the hippie movement and even middle-aged men let their hair hang down.

"That's when business got kind of shaky," Bob said.

He had to find other jobs to supplement the business; from a part-time game warden to the head of the ski patrol at Jay. Through that time, he never forgot his business and his passion-- the barbershop.

"Well, you meet a lot of people. There are a lot of stories," he said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Who's got the better hair?

Bob Gleason: I have!

A little brotherly bashing all for $10.

"You look five years younger," Bob told Stuart. "There you go."

Joe Carroll: What do you think of my hair?

Bob Gleason: Pretty good style... probably could use a haircut.

No haircut for me. In fact, Bob has as much business as he wants; not knowing how much longer he's going to be shearing and styling, taking it day by day.

"Some morning I'm going to wake up and say, well, that's it," he said.

Thursday was a monumental day for the Gleason family. Bob and his wife, Yvette, have been married for 60 years. The celebration, though, was muted. In fact, Yvette doesn't remember the anniversary.

Joe Carroll: Does she recognize you?

Bob Gleason: No.

She's had Alzheimer's for years and lives in a nursing home.

"I took care of her for as long as I could," Bob said.

He sees her at least four times a week in St. Albans.

He remains positive, even giving advice to a younger barber who stopped in.

"It's definitely a dying breed kind of thing, but at the same time I'm proud to be in it," barber Jeff Wetmore said.

Bob is proud, too. The 81-year-old doesn't know if someone will take over the business, but that's OK, he has the memories and the stories to last him a lifetime.

"Just keep doing what you're doing," he advised. "Keep active, that's the thing."

Grand advice in a small shop from a big man.

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