Paul "Zeke" Alspach has been cutting hair since 1966 and every head of hair trimmed has been a work of tonsorial elegance, he said.

Paul "Zeke" Alspach has been cutting hair since 1966 and every head of hair trimmed has been a work of tonsorial elegance, he said.

Alspach, who was born and raised in Canal Winchester and now lives on Mound Street, cut his last head of hair Dec. 27. He's retired now.

"I'm not going to miss waking up at 5:15 in the morning or anything," he said. "The thing I'll miss is the people. I got some good ones."

Alspach said he started barber school in 1966 after coming off a five-year stint as a professional baseball player.

Barber school lasted 10 months and tuition was $1,200. Now the cost is up to about $10,000.

"Back then $1,200 was a lot of money," he said. "Things have changed a little bit."

The decision to become a barber was rather simple.

"I wanted to work with my hands," Alspach said. "I like working with my hands."

After graduating barber school, Alspach said he worked for a few barbers in Groveport and Canal Winchester. By 1977 he became the owner of the shop in downtown Canal Winchester at the intersection of High and Waterloo streets. The shop was called Zeke's Barber Shop.

Alspach said he remembers when a cut used to cost $1.25. Now it's $10.

"Boy, I hate to say that," he added. "I'm getting old."

When it comes to deciding who cuts his hair, Alspach said the decision is rather simple, as well.

"I don't care who cuts my hair," he said. "It's free, isn't it?"

For the past 18 years, Alspach said he worked six days a week, but since he sold the barber shop to Rex Toney in December 2007, he has only cut hair on Saturdays.

Alspach said since he sold the shop, he's worked for the Ohio State Barber Board Monday through Friday.

"I'm going to miss having him here on Saturdays," Toney said of Alspach, as the two cut hair last Saturday. "He's quite a friend."

Toney said the barbering job isn't too hard; he just stands there, tells jokes and makes money.

"That's the best part," Alspach added. "I'm paying you the big bucks, ain't I, Rex?"

The shop is quiet and marked with periods of idle chatter concerning sports or politics.

Joe Martin, one of Alspach's regular customers, couldn't say much about the veteran barber; "this is a family establishment," he joked.

Then, there was a short period of silence.

"Nobody wants to tell the truth, I guess," joked another regular Tim Boyer. "I don't know what we're going to do (with Alspach leaving). I'll have to get my wife some clippers maybe."

Toney said he learned the ropes of barbering from Alspach. In seven years, the two have never had a spat. Toney said he was lucky to have the barber shop offered to him for purchase.

"It's altogether been a blessing," he said. "I've been here seven years, but it feels like 25."

Toney and Alspach said the life of a barber isn't the easiest.

"It's a fulfilling job," Alspach said. "It helps to be a people person, but if you're going to make a living, you'd better be in here 9 or 10 hours a day."