Barbershops and barbecue joints are the great equalizers of this world.

Inside both, men in coats  and ties sit equal with the men wearing steel-toe boots.

The man with hair past his shoulder is no more important than the man whose follicles have long given up the fight to survive.

There is a small spot I once would frequent where the pitmasters were well known for their skills in the ancient art of smoking meat over hot coals.

It sat below the railroad tracks on the south side of town. The windows are partially obscured with heavy metal bars and the exterior hasn’t seen a fresh coat of paint in years.

Sitting at the long tables inside are men in well-worn boots and stained jeans talking with those in wingtips and brightly colored ties.

No one worried about status here.

Just this past week, I spent some time in the Goliad barbershop of Robert & Sons. 

Here too, those in their business attire sit comfortably next to those outfitted far more relaxed.

Robert De La Garza, the owner, doesn’t concern himself with the political or economic influence of those who walk in the door. They are his customers. They are his friends.

It’s a lesson so many parents should take the time to teach their children.

A person’s worth should not be measured by the material of their pants or the starch in their shirt. 

De La Garza, who has had 83 years of life experience behind him, simply smiles at everyone, welcomes them with an enthusiastic hello and offers them a seat.