Beware of Coonie

Beware of Coonie


First grade.
First grade.

When you are six years old, a child has a lot of fears; monsters under the bed, the gnarly-old dog down the street, or that witchy-mean third grade teacher.  (Mine was Mrs. Metzger who shook me so hard in the school hallway, I peed my pants right at her feet!)



But what I feared most of all was……Coonie.



barber pole


Coonie, first name of Coonie Veit (pronounced “Vite”), was our town’s barber.




To this six year old, Coonie seemed to be about 900 years old.  Bitter, crotchety and filled with wretched pessimism, Coonie made the Grinch seem like a priest!  He was the crypt-keeper of evil.  If the devil wore a white barber’s smock—he would be Coonie.  (Maybe that explains his bitterness…any dude who wears a smock HAS to be pissed!)

Coonie looked like Mayberry’s “Floyd the Barber”–minus the moustache.  Same slicked-up hair.  Same horned-rimmed glasses.

And he was an absolute terrible barber.  I don’t believe Coonie could cut a fart, much less some one’s hair.  My mom would complain about my dad’s fresh Coonie-cut every time he returned home.  “No style” was Coonie’s style.



angry man 1


But it was his fear-factor that made him so frightful.  Any kid caught walking past his store-front, Coonie would pause in his bloodied assault on some one’s head and glare at them with an icy stare.


Sitting in his shop was even worse.  Terrifying torture–pure and simple!

While hacking away at my dad’s hair, he would frequently look my way with a mean grimace.  I didn’t dare move a muscle, much less look through one of the year-old “Popular Mechanics” magazines scattered about the table before me.

Coonie’s finishing move was horror-movie scary to this kid with a hair-trigger bladder.  He would turn my dad away so he couldn’t see me. 



Then, blocking my dad’s view in the mirror, Coonie Veit would twist his head, squint his piercing black eyes and stick out his coffee-stained false teeth!



I couldn’t wait to be old enough to stay home by myself while dad went for his monthly buzz.  I would rather play with rusty nails than step inside Coonie’s dungeon.

They say childhood memories last a lifetime.

I guess it’s true as the sight of that angry, dentured barber has been etched into the mush of my brain.

And some forty years later, I’m still frightened…still leery…of a geezer named Coonie.


One Reply to “Beware of Coonie”

  1. That was a funny relief of a stressful week. Thanks for the laugh. What’s so funny for me is knowing I also had a Mrs. Metzger…who would have a lot of students scared to death. She worked our library though, and having the love of books, she was a very nice person to some of us. (As long as you listened to her “SHHH!”) 🙂