Lakeside’s Singing Barber reflects on music and wartime’s close calls

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- He's better known for his music now than for his barber skills.

Harold Kennedy just works Fridays and Saturdays at te Lakeside Barber Shop.

He only came in on this day to play and sing for us.

Now in his early 90's, the barber's kid from Spencer gets to turn the radio down and stretch his fingers.

No one minds at all, partly because of where that music comes from.

"I started playing when I was a teenager," he says. "But I didn't play it like I do now."

Drafted in 1943 by the Navy, young Harold trained as a pipe fitter on a tank landing ship or LST.

He got one trip to Hawaii where he and a buddy had a picture taken.

Then it was off to war.

"We got through the practice runs," says Kennedy. "Anything after that was for real."

He spent his time island hopping in the South Pacific.

His scariest moments came when one Kamikaze suicide place buzzed over his head, and later when another Kamikaze sank the ship he was on.

"It scared the pants off me when it was happening," he recalls.

His only wartime injury, a piece of shrapnel than went right through his ear.

Harold didn't bother applying for a Purple Heart.

"I didn't get one," he chuckles. "I guess I should have but I didn't."

Kennedy was one of those guys who came home and got to work.

He became a barber like his dad, and was one of the first guys hired at Lakeside in 1954.

If there was a way to process his experiences, to answer the question of why he came back and others didn't, picking at the guitar might have proven the best path.

His still at it more than 70 years later, one lucky man, who's music might mean more than he lets on.

Harold says, "Memorial Day, to me, is for all your loved ones, any loved ones who've passed away."

The Lakeside Barbershop is located at 7513 North May Avenue in Oklahoma City.

Harold works Fridays and until lunchtime on Saturdays.

The guitar usually sits in a corner for when business is slow.