Lowell Jones Sr. and I could not have been more opposite.

He was more than two decades older and a staunch conservative Republican. Me, a more moderate who could see the value of points and policies from Democrats and Republicans, but one who did not stray too far left or right — more of a middle-of-the-road-kind of guy.

Lowell was a straight shooting, straight talking, true-blue Maine man who always told it like it was and if you did not like it, you would get over it — or not. I fancy myself a bit more politically correct and try to open constructive communication by understanding the people in the room.

Lowell, who sadly died at age 81 on Wednesday, Feb. 5, had no time for shenanigans. He did not suffer fools gladly or quietly. More often than not, things were black-and-white for the man who cut hair in downtown Camden for five-and-a-half decades.

For me, I saw the black and white, but always felt one should consider, on some level, the gray. Stop for a moment and try to put yourself in the other person's shoes. See things from their perspective. Not an easy task, but at least try.

In my world, one should think with their head but feel with their heart and then make the decision that best tackles and, ultimately solves the problem — understanding there always are other factors to consider than the ones staring one in the face.

Lowell, dare I say, was more set in his ways. The answers to problems were pretty simple, clear and straight forward. They often stared him in the face. He did not need to look left or right. His non-nonsense brain told him which way to go — his heart be damned.

We had many spirited discussions, debates and back and forths, but never did we really argue about any point — even hot-button and always-contentious subjects like politics or religion.

Lowell did not yell and scream. He talked in a low, matter-of-fact voice. I, on the other hand, have been known to get a little excited about things. But even when I would make what I felt was a measured, thoughtful and educated point, Lowell always said the same thing: "Oh yeah?"

He liked to rib me as being Mr. Liberal (I heard that a few times when I walked through the doors of the barbershop), while I would, in a good-natured way, tell him, once or twice, he was too conservative. He needed to expand his mind and think outside the box.

He would have none of it.

But the old man (me) and the older man (Lowell) had enough common bonds to form a relationship built on respect and, in my case for him, admiration. We both loved sports, especially golf.

We loved Arnold Palmer. When I sat in Lowell's barber chair, we talked and talked about golf. About where he played, the latest club, glove, bag or shirt he bought or his latest round (he always had his best recent scorecard tucked near his old-time cash register to proudly pull out to show anyone who would take a peek).

In the meantime, his brother, fellow barber and longtime business partner, Roger, standing nearby, simply shrugged and rolled his eyes.

Golf was not Roger's thing.

Nonetheless, Lowell, a nearly life-long resident of Beech Hill Road in Rockport, and I talked so much about golf that I eventually did a story on him when he decided one year that on June 21, which provided the most daylight for the longest period time, he would attempt to see how many holes he could play — walking and pulling a golf club cart, no less — at his home course of the Union Country Club.

So, this one year Lowell started early in the morning and played to dark and got about 100 holes in. And he walked the entire time, despite not being a spring chicken. I was impressed and felt that worthy of a story.

That story and my frequent visits to his barber chair (one thing that always amazed me was how Lowell, a barber, had the most luxurious white hair) led us to decide to play golf together. We did a handful of times. Me with him and his friends. It was, as they say, a learning experience I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Lowell was a good golfer and had an unwavering passion for the sport. He stayed focused for every shot on the course and delighted with each par he carved out. He was so pleased when he pulled off a tough shot that he would ask, "Did you see that?"

No matter how he played, he literally and figuratively stayed the course.

I so respected his attitude, demeanor and happiness simply to be alive and on the course. His joy was palpable.

I knew the Jones boys, all three of them, for much of my young adulthood. The connection was strong in so many ways, especially with Lowell because he often cut my hair and we shared a passion for golf.

We also shared a passion for the outdoors, fishing and for playing, coaching and watching baseball. We had more discussions about the state of the game and, of course, our beloved Boston Red Sox.

Although I never bowled with Lowell, I know he loved candlepin and was quite a bowler. We spoke often of his performances in the leagues and how one age-related ailment or another was holding him back from being as good as he hoped. That always made me sad. But it was the reality of the situation and Lowell took it with a stiff upper lip — as he did with most things.

But, before that, Lowell's older brother, Allen, also a barber in Rockland, was my landlord for a house I rented on, where else, Beech Hill Road in Rockport. I remember so many of the wonderful stories shared by the Jones boys of growing up in Rockport and being in the military, but the one story that I will never forget is the one Allen told me about how, when he was in the Navy, his ship was docked in Boston Harbor and he and shipmates decided to go to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

As luck would have it, Ted Williams hit a home run and Allen, sitting in the bleachers, was fortunate enough to secure the ball, a prized possession he kept with him and even put on display when he returned home to Rockport.

Well, as the story goes, one day Allen, Lowell, Roger, their sisters and friends wanted to play a little ball, but, well, didn't have a ball. So, they figured it was no big deal, they would simply play with the Ted Williams home run ball and return it to its perch on the desk after the game.

One can imagine what happened. Someone hit the ball into tall grass and the ball — but not the memory of Ted Williams' home run — was lost forever. The Jones boys always laughed about that, not giving much care to the history or the gravity of what they had done.

Think of the great movie "Sandlot" and the loss of a cherished, signed ball by Babe Ruth, "The Bambino," "The Sultan of Swat." But the home run ball of the "Splendid Splitter" or "Teddy Ballgame" was not guarded by a fierce junk-yard dog, but grass that would not reveal its secret hiding spot.

Of course, I also know Roger, the other half of the dynamic hair-cutting Jones brother duo, because of the barber shop, but also because he lived just below me in our rented house on Beech Hill Road. Roger, one of the hardest-working men I ever seen (when not in the barbershop, he could be found working around his yard and Christmas tree farm from sun up to sundown). He often rode and his mower around and waved to my son, Brandon, who would be in his tall outdoor play area. They had a connection.

Lowell and Roger were civic leaders. They felt to make a difference one had to get involved with the community. And they did. They did not just talk a good game, they got involved in the game. Deeds, not words, make a difference.

The Jones boys were — and are — true-blue Maine men. They love the outdoors, hunting, fishing, gardening and chopping wood. How Maine is that?

Although they probably never knew it — because I never took the time to tell them — the Jones boys were wonderful parts of my journey through life. I identified with their work ethics, their down-to-earth personalities, their love of a good joke, their subtle laughs and even our political sparring.

I felt I had a camaraderie with the men, especially Lowell, and am thankful for their time, conversation and, especially, their friendship.

For 55 years, Lowell and Roger operated the Jones Barbershop in downtown Camden. They followed in the grand footsteps of their father and older brother. Both well-known local barbers and staunch, respected members of their communities.

Over the years, the brothers got to know a lot of people — a lot of heads and the hair upon them — and one of those noggins belonged to me. But I got so much more from Lowell Jones than a haircut and a "shave around the ears." I got a connection to a man I respected and always admired.

Lowell, you will be missed by those you touched on the head — but especially in their hearts.