It was one of the best Christmas gifts, ever.
My sister was creative and crafty and I loved watching momma’s beautician style her hair so what better gift than a Maddie Mod Deadstock Mannequin hair-do doll, complete with rollers, brush, hair products, and even a carrying case. Momma believed my sister and I should be fully educated in the fine of art of fabulous hair and makeup. After all, we were Southern girls in training. We rolled Maddie Mod’s hair, back-combed it, added the hair extension, and the all-important pink ribbon topped off the plastic diva’s do. We had become professional hairdressers in just a matter of weeks.
Sound Asleep in His Recliner
Every day at noon, Daddy would come in from the farm and eat a large meal in the middle of the day. Then he would crash in his pleather recliner and in a matter of minutes, he was, as Momma would say, at Lilly White’s Party. It wasn’t long after he stretched out in that recliner that the snoring began.
We could not wait to roll his hair!
With Daddy in a deep sleep, sawing logs, my sister and I had a brilliant idea. Since we had mastered the Maddie Mod head, we decided on a new challenge, Daddy’s not-so-mod head. Maddie Mod was easy since the mannequin had lots of long hair, but Daddy’s hair was not so easy—he had a patch on top of his head and hair on the sides. Very carefully, we separated each section and began our beauty magic. We managed to roll the top and the sides using every one of those small pink rollers. We were so proud of our creation, we decided to top it off with spraying his hair with Momma’s Breck hair setting spray. We thought the sound of the spewing aerosol can would wake him but since he was treating and spraying ditch banks, it probably sounded normal. To complete our creation, we mischievously topped-off Daddy’s do with the Maddie Mod hair extension.
Oh, oh! Back to work!
Just like typical children, we moved on to the next activity. In the meantime, Daddy woke up, put on his cap, and off he went to a tractor supply place to pick up some parts. Upon entering the store, Daddy did what most Southern gentlemen do—he removed his hat. Upon seeing Daddy’s hair completely rolled with pink miniature rollers with a red hair extension on top, everyone in view of Daddy’s do burst out laughing; the kind of laughter that throws one into convulsions and you have to hold on to something not to fall over. The tractor supply folks could not pull themselves together to tell him what was so funny, they just pointed and laughed.
Daddy headed to the men’s room and he saw what was making the guys convulse into snorts, but it got worse. Remember that Breck hair setting spray? It did its job, too. When the rollers were removed, Daddy’s hair resembled Bozo the clown. In fact, to give it a modern-day hairdo look, his hair was styled into a high top fro. And, honey, his hair was set; the only hope for Daddy’s hair to calm down was hopping into the shower. And this is what he did; laughing all the way back home to take a shower.
He taught me to be able to be able to laugh at yourself!
I remember that day like it was only yesterday. What sticks in my mind is how much it made my father laugh and how he told that story over and over again. Farming is a very stressful profession and with only a small window of time to earn a living from the “money crop” of tomatoes, laughter and fun were not visitors in our home very often.
But Daddy taught me some lessons that day; be able to laugh at yourself and try to find the humor in everyday experiences. I guess you can say it was a hair-raising experience (can’t help myself) filled with lots of fun, laughter, and a story that continues to be told.
Daddy left us in 1996 when his heart quit beating—ironically, while he was in his recliner. I can’t wait to throw my arms around his neck and hear that story told just one more time.
Stories of love and laughter are some of our dearest moments to share with our children and grandchildren and some of our sweetest of sweet tea memories.
Jane Jenkins Herlong is a Sirius XM Humorist, international best-selling/award-winning author, professional singer, recording artist and award-winning professional speaker.
Jane is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame and one of the 232 men and women to be awarded this honor including former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and the late General Colin L. Powell. Jane has also achieved the distinction of becoming a Certified Speaking Professional by the National Speakers Association.