‘The only reason I haven’t been fired is I work for myself,’ Now after 55 years an Oklahoma man calls it quits

Great State
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NOBLE, OKLAHOMA -- Garland Gaston has been cutting hair for so long, cracking jokes, and giggling through his day, people have forgotten how he came to this town.

But follow a spinning barber pole back nearly sixty years to the day his brother picked him up in his home town of Vici.

Gaston recalls, "He was going to take me to Okmulgee for trade school."

The car ride proved too long.

Garland told his brother to stop in Oklahoma City instead.

"I got tired of riding," he says, "So I told him to take me down to the barber school and that's where I signed up. I didn't even have a clue that I was going to be a barber."

Gaston cut hair with his brother-in-law for a while back home.

Then, at the age of 22, he and his wife moved to Noble and put down what proved to be deep roots.

"I kind of enjoyed it," he says. "I enjoyed people."

He's had some partners and some competition.

He either outlived or out worked all of them.

His prices for a standard cut started at $1.25.

They're only $9.00 now.

Garland likes to keep things simple.

"He giggles and says, "The only reason I haven't been fired is I work for myself."

There was no snap decision on retiring.

A couple of years ago his wife suggested it.

Last summer he though he'd give it another year, and here we are.

The list of things to do at home is longer than the list at work.

A barber shop visitor asks, "Are you afraid you'll run out of things to do?"

"No," laughs Garland. "I've still got a wife. I'll guarantee you what. She's got me lined out. She said she'd keep me busy. I said I have no problem."

He's been pretty busy since word spread that he was hanging up his shears.

Garland has a partner who's keeping his place open.

He says he might decide to drop in from time to time, but those decisions are reserved for down the road.

No reason to rush things now with his track record for deciding already so good.

Garland Gaston retired Saturday, July 25th after 55 years of cutting hair at the Noble Barber Shop.

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