|Buddy Stone at work|
by Bert Carson
Buddy Stone passed away November 22, 2012. At least that’s what his obituary reported. But I’m sure he’s still here. Oh, I know he’s physically not among us, but I also know that he is right here, right now, right beside me, looking over my shoulder, whispering in my ear as I search for the right words to tell you about him. I know that’s true in spite of the fact that I never physically met Buddy.
If you wonder how that can be, let me explain. Buddy left a legacy of people, the only kind of legacy that amounts to anything. After you read this, more than likely, you’re going to discover that you have become part of the Buddy Stone Legacy – a legacy of love, compassion, commitment, and integrity. And trust me; you could do a whole lot worse than to be part of the extended Buddy Stone family.
I’m part of the legacy because of my association over the past twenty-eight years
|Brandon (sitting) & Aaron Stone|
Early last December, I climbed into Brandon’s chair at Taylor’s Barber Shop. We did a few minutes of catch up as he prepared me for my monthly clip.
I told him about our hectic Christmas photo season which was winding down.
He listened attentively, and then said, “I have some bad news to share with you Mr. Carson (I’ll never break him of that respectful habit).
“What is it, Brandon?”
“Uncle Buddy passed away.”
Before I could say anything, Ollie Taylor, the co-owner of the shop, cutting at the next chair, said in a quiet voice, “We all went down to Alexander City for the service.” Then he added, “Buddy conducted it.”
That gave me something to say. “Buddy conducted his own funeral service?”
Brandon, who still thinks the Stone Family is no different from everyone’s family, said, “Yep. He knew that the cancer was going to get him, so a couple of weeks before it did, he got his preacher to record him conducting his own funeral service. He delivered the message, which was simply him telling how he always tried to do the best he could in everything that he took on, including his relationships with his family, friends, customers, and strangers.”
“Did the preacher play Buddy’s tape at the service?”
Brandon laughed at my question. “No sir, what Buddy recorded was the whole service, he even sang all the hymns.”
Ollie, with as much respect as I've heard in any man’s voice, said, “I have never heard anything like it. Never.”
Buddy Stone was one of twenty-one children. Early on, he realized that he only had two career choices: work for Avondale Mills, the principle employer in his home town, Alexander City, Alabama, or learn a trade. He took the latter course and became a barber, a master barber who was more than willing to share the trade with anyone who wanted to learn.
Today there are fourteen Stones cutting hair and sharing Buddy’s love and commitment to life.
I don’t know how many lives those fourteen have and will touch, but I know they've touched me and unconditionally included me in the legacy of love and commitment established by Isaiah “Buddy” Stone.
Even if it were possible for me to sit in Buddy’s barber chair today, there wouldn't be words for me to tell him how I feel about being part of his legacy, but I know that he knows that – knowing is an integral part of the legacy, the part that connects us all.
Uncle Buddy, thanks for including me.