The Ties That Happily Bind

Rex’s Hairstyling has been a community institution and a source of community for close to 40 years.

I miss the movies.

I miss newspapers.

I miss magazines.

I miss bookstores.

I miss albums (and getting lost in a great record store).

I miss civility.

I miss the America I knew in the 70s and 80s. But I’m still filled to the brim with patriotism.

I miss sleep.

I miss endless summers.

I miss boring hurricane seasons.

I miss Blood’s Groves.

I miss Ken and Hazel’s.

I miss seeing my buddy Perry at Boston’s on the Beach.

I miss 32 East.

I miss Chip Stokes at St. Paul’s.

I miss listening to stories in Mr. and Mrs. Pompey’s living room.

I miss Joe and Carolyn Gholston.

I miss visits with Libby Wesley.

I miss Sister Mary Clare’s brogue.

I miss roasts. (And when this town had a sense of humor).

I miss charrettes.

I miss optimism.

I miss the sense that anything was possible.

Because it was.


Celebrating A Friend

A few months back, I wrote a tribute to Karyn Premock who died tragically in an accident in Tennessee.

Karyn, who used to work at Rex’s Hairstyling, is beloved in Delray Beach. She touched so many lives.

I had the honor of speaking at her “celebration of life” at The Dunes over the weekend. The place was packed, and it could have been filled four times with the number of people who wanted a chance to mourn and celebrate.

Karyn is missed. I find myself thinking about her often, especially when I pass her old house in Lake Ida on the way to the park near the Delray Playhouse.

The celebration was closure for many of us, but it’s still difficult to reconcile that she’s gone. One minute you’re here…the next your gone. It’s sobering but also clarifying because it’s important to cherish the people who enrich our lives and communities.

We live in coarse times.  And you have to ask why?


Karyn was a bright light. She made us smile. You can’t put a price on what that’s worth. Her warmth, her energy, her caring made a real and lasting difference.

Earlier in the week, we learned that Rex’s will be closing Dec. 30.

Another Delray institution passing into the history books and memory banks.

Words cannot express how special a place Rex’s has been. How important it has been to this community. The scene of countless first haircuts, endless conversation, loud laughs and love. Lots and lots and lots of love.

When you walk through the doors you got more than a haircut, you got community.

The special people who work there adore each other and their customers. In today’s often toxic world, you can’t put a price on that.

Karyn created a family in that shop. She leaves behind a legacy of love and warmth.

So does Rex’s Hairstyling.

We need more of these great places….

Untimely Loss

Speaking of untimely loss, we were stunned to hear the news of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson’s death over the weekend.

The MMA legend was a neighbor for a few years and always kind and friendly to everyone, especially the children in our neighborhood who loved his big truck. He died after an illness at 38.

Rest In Peace.


I’m glad the Election is over.

What a waste of money…what an exercise in (fill in the blank).

I don’t care what side of the divide you’re on, all of us were inundated with an endless barrage of mud that did not offer a single thoughtful solution or a way forward, only reasons why should we fear/hate each other.

Let’s hope the upcoming municipal elections in March will offer us more substance.

There are real issues to discuss; the Delray bond issue, water issues, what do with Old School Square, where to site a new fire station now that we are losing our long term (and mutually beneficial arrangement with Highland Beach), issues at City Hall, workforce housing, dispirited non-profits because of attitudes at City Hall and the CRA’s politicization and implementation of draconian terms to accept grants.

As for the election results, it was a monumentally consequential election for Palm Beach County.

A political earthquake.

Reliably blue Palm Beach County turned red. Not only did Gov. Ron DeSantis beat Charlie Crist but two prominent Democrats lost County Commission races.

County Mayor Bob Weinroth lost his seat to newcomer Mari Woodward and longtime civic leader Michelle McGovern lost her bid for a commission seat as well.

While both races surprised me, the Weinroth loss was a stunner.

Bob was a hardworking and highly visible elected official with lots of experience in city and county government.

I went to his opponent’s website to learn more, and she seemed to be a one-issue candidate with lots of words about Covid lockdowns. It will be interesting to see how she performs.

But it’s clear to me, that experience matters less than the team you’re on. You are either a D or an R. And neither side will consider voting for the candidates outside their tribe.

In those kinds of races, money (Weinroth had a bunch) matters less than turning out your team.

Personally, I don’t understand why the County Commission is a partisan body.

And love him or loathe him, Governor DeSantis had some serious coattails.


Thinking About Lasts & Firsts

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.” Author John Banville

In life, we tend to celebrate “firsts”.
First birthdays, first steps, first words, our first car, first job, first home.
I’ve been thinking about “lasts” lately.
Recently, I got my last haircut from Karyn Premock at Rex’s Hair Salon.
I’ve been going to Karyn for probably 15 years or more. Every five weeks for a decade and a half and last week marked the last cut.

After “retiring” three years ago with a great party at 5th Avenue Grill, Karyn hung around until she sold her house in Lake Ida and built a new one in Tennessee.
She’s famous around these parts, with a client list of well known locals. She held on to a few of us after she “retired” and I was lucky to be one of the fortunate few. But now it’s over. Karyn is moving on.

I remember my first haircut at Rex’s which was located just off Atlantic Avenue in those days.
I was on the City Commission and I kept hearing all of these rumors about goings on at the city. When I asked people where they were hearing such things a great many said Rex’s. So I figured I’d go there out of self defense and also to learn what people in town were talking about.

Then and now, Rex’s was like a community water cooler and if you wanted to get a pulse on the town you had to go there.
My wife Diane was already a client and she recommended Karyn. I’ve been there ever since.

I’m going to stay too, even now that Karyn is gone. I’m going to move over to Rex’s chair. I’ve grown to love the place and I don’t want to go anywhere else.
A guy needs some continuity in these fast paced times.

But I have to say I was emotional when I hugged Karyn after the last hair cut. We didn’t say goodbye, we said ‘see you soon’.

I’m sure we will see her again but it was emotional nonetheless.
We have shared a lot over the years. Our talks  included gossip, politics, news, stories about our families, movies we’ve seen, people we know and life in general.
So you grow close. You become friends. And then one day, you get your last cut and things change forever. Isn’t that life?

I felt the same way a few months back when I traveled home to Stony Brook, N.Y. and visited all of my personal landmarks.
I remember moving day when we settled into 22 Moss Hill Place, but I honestly don’t remember the last time I left that house. I’m pretty sure I didn’t realize it would be the last time.
Because if I had, I would have savored the experience instead of bounding into my car and driving off.
Isn’t that life too?

Rushing from place to place, marking firsts, a few key anniversaries and special occasions but rarely recognizing transitions or endings.

Recently, after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, I decided to donate to HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), the Jewish organization that so offended the shooter because they help refugees coming to America.
I mentioned the organization to my dad and he told me that HIAS had helped my grandfather when he immigrated from Russia in 1920.
I didn’t know that and I felt a surge of emotion at the news. I absolutely adored my grandfather, he was my first hero, and the connection moved me.

And I was reminded that I didn’t realize at the time that when I went away to college it would be the last time I would ever see my grandfather.

He passed while I was in school in Oswego, N.Y.
There’s obvious lessons here. To be conscious and aware and present and appreciative and “woke” as they say these days.
And it’s all true. It’s good to be all of these things.
It’s also important to understand that life is change. Life is transitions. And life should be appreciated and savored.

When I walked into Rex’s for the first time all those years ago, much younger, idealistic, full of excitement for my city and in the middle of the action in town, I didn’t realize I would make a friend, that I would enjoy years of conversation and laughs in a great barber shop and that I would see friends enjoy the same experience.

Cut after cut, year after year, until the last snip.