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Remembering Jim BishopPosted Friday, June 19, 2009, at 1:12 PM
For all of you dads out there, this weekend is the time when family members say thanks for everything you do all year. As fathers, we know that everyday is actually Father's Day, right? It is a never ending job, no matter your stage in life!
I knew that this column was coming up and believe it or not -- it's been one of my toughest to write. There are so many compelling stories out there involving relationships between fathers and their children. Where do you start? Every dad's story is the most important story to him and his own kids.
Jim Bishop was my father. He was a barber. Bishop's Barber Shop was established in 1935 at 17th and Smead Streets in Logansport, Indiana by my grandfather, Bill. His son, Jim, joined him in the family business after graduating from Ball State teacher's college with a degree in elementary education. In the early 1950s you could make more money cutting hair than you could teaching school.
My dad retired in 1995 and after 60 years in the same location, Bishop's Barbershop was no more.
I never thought about being a barber and working the family business. Quite honestly, my dad and I never even discussed the subject. That's no knock on barbering, it just wasn't me. But, Bishop's Barbershop was a Logansport landmark. It was a hub for sports. The walls were covered with pictures of LHS teams or individuals who had won North Central Conference championships, state championships or anything else significant.
It was a three chair barber shop for many years. I remember that I loved to hang out at the barbershop and listen to those great adult conversations that are a fabric of barbershop lore. On busy days, my dad made me stand up so as not to take a seat from a paying customer.
Jim Bishop hated the Beatles. He had foresight and knew what they would do to hair styles and how that would affect his business and the frequency of haircuts!
I would say that my dad was not a great athlete, probably not even a good one. But, he was a great sports fan. He was a tremendous communicator and with his sports knowledge and communication skills, he could have been a great broadcaster. He loved to read and his vocabulary coupled with his college education made him a master at creating controversy, which always kept the customers stimulated at the barber shop.
Many know that I am an avid fan of the New York Yankees. People ask me, how did that happen? Jim Bishop was a Yankee fan. We would listen to games on WCBS, a strong AM station from New York. I would eventually fall asleep or go to bed. When I awoke in the morning, he had taped the line score from last night's game on my bedroom door. That was in 1961. Forty-eight years later my passion for the Yankees has not diminished.
My dad never coached a team that I played on because his work hours would not allow it. However, he spent countless time after work hitting me ground balls or throwing batting practice. Jim took pride is his yard, but never complained about the bare spots in the backyard that were a result of neighborhood waffle ball games.
He made sure that I had a basketball goal in the alley behind my house. Jim graduated from LHS, too. Make no mistake that he was real proud when I made the varsity basketball team my junior year of high school. He waited up for me every night after a game. I know he didn't always agree with the coaching, BUT he never criticized the coach. He and my grandfather had the same two seats in the Berry Bowl from 1934 until it closed in 1974. My dad was a vocal fan. He yelled at referees. He could get their attention and almost got tossed from a regional game at Marion in 1971! My mom still cringes about that!
I take full credit for getting my dad into golf -- well, almost. He got me a job working at the Rolling Hills Par Three Golf Course in the summer of 1970. He said I needed to make more money than I was making from mowing yards. Once I started playing golf at the par three, he joined me. He continued to play until the day he died.
Jim Bishop was a 20-handicapper. He actually had two hole-in-ones in his lifetime. Ironically, I recorded my first two aces in the same week that he did. There is no way to tell, but a father/son getting hole-in-ones twice in the same week that might make the Guinness Book of Records!
My dad was the quintessential "wrist slitter" when it came to golf. We have all seen this type of golfer! A bad round today, never going to play the game again and calling friends later that night to set up tomorrow's game.
My dad actually played 9 holes of golf on the morning that he died in September 2005. He worked in his yard that afternoon. Those were the two favorite pastimes for this 78-year-old retired barber. That night he went to sleep and just never woke up. Jim would have said, "If you gotta go, that's the way you want it!"
He owned his own golf cart and I drove to Logansport a few weeks later to pick it up from Dykeman Park Municipal Golf Course. On the scorecard holder was a laminated cartoon from the comic strip Hi and Lois. In the cartoon, Hi has finished a round of golf and says to a friend, "I think I will give golf up."
The friend responds, "Aw, cmon, what will you do for fun?"
And Hi answers, "Start hammering nails in my head. It will probably be less painful."
Jim Bishop used to say that being taken for granted was the ultimate compliment because that meant somebody had the confidence that you were going to get the job done. Well, Dad, thanks for everything -- even if it's a little late!
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