Sam The Barber
Sam McPherson, the Mt Beauty barber was such a character. I remember my first solo trip, as an eight year old, to his little barber's shop in Kiewa Cres, just along from where the Estate Agent is now, I think. You would walk up two steps into his little narrow shop, sit in his chair and Sam would say "How would you like it, laddie?" The nervous reply would be "Errr, just a trim please Sam". The trim would always be "short back and sides" then smothered in Californian Poppy. Every now and then during the cut, Sam would walk over near his wash basin, cough three or four times and deposit what sounded like half his lungs into the spitoon on the floor. Sam played it hard, making a good living but he would drink, smoke and gamble all his earnings as quick as he earned it. Sam was one of the real original Kiewa characters. At five foot five and seven stone, this pint sized little man, with no family, had a heart of gold and probably for 45 years cut the hair of thousands of Kiewa workers with his scissors, hand clippers and cut throat razor. He was banned from the Workman's Club about 20 times for being drunk, abusive and fighting. He would pick on the tallest and biggest male in the bar and the fight would usually end quickly, with Sam swinging air punches until his reluctant opponent pushed him over. He was a regular vagrant after retirement, always seen walking around the shops with a longneck in a brown paper bag, annoying mainly tourists along with all and sundry. Incredibly, in his eighties, Sam was walking over the bridge at Tawonga South one evening and his wobbling little frame veered off into the middle of the highway. The vehicle hit Sam and it was estimated that he flew 30 metres in the air down the bitumen. The ugly situation saw Sam in a critical condition in hospital for some time but he regained full statue and was soon back on the grog again. Despite his self inflicted drunken annoying behaviour, Sam endured a hard life but when sober, he was a softly spoken gentleman, passing away in his nineties.