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Three Brothers and A Father Part III by Just_Me

It seemed like Vern had set the tone for our trip to the grocery store. Everywhere I looked people were staring. To me, it seemed like some were admiring us, and others were disgusted.

I decided to act like I was proud, and not let them get to me. Then I thought, "Damn it! I am proud of myself. I did something I really wanted to do. Let them stare." (I had conveniently forgotten that I had been against the trip to the barbershop until Keving played traitor).

I stumbled a little bit when another thought hit me. "These folks staring ain’t nothing compared to what you’re going to experience when you get to school Monday. Remember Matthew?"

I got scared, and the reality (and enormity) of what I’d done hit me. For the first time I truly realized I was going to have to face a school full of fourteen-year-old trend followers. I shuddered. Then I thought, "It’s too late to be scared now, Thompson. You’ve done the deed. You’re gonna have to do what Dad always taught. You’re just going to have to take responsibility for your actions." I kept thinking, and asked myself if pissing Kevin off was worth the price I was going to pay. I immediately answered myself. "Damn right it was worth it. I’d shave my head to get to see him that scared again!" "

It seemed like thinking about school conjured up one of my classmates. I saw a girl from school. Even though I liked Jill, she was the last person I wanted to see me that day. You see, Jill was known as the "School Crier" because she walked the halls of the school telling everyone what was going on. Whatever she knew, everyone in the school knew within the hour. She lived to gossip. (Well, that might be slightly wrong. She didn’t really gossip. Whatever she said was true. She was smart, and had a good memory and would relate a story verbatim. The only problem was the way she told it over, and over, and over.)

I had visions of her running home and calling everyone in my class.

I picked something up off a shelf, so I could turn away from her. A sigh of relief escaped me when she walked by without recognizing me. I thought, "Thank God she didn’t know it was me."

She was halfway down the aisle when I heard her scream, "Chad Thompson, is that you?"

She came running back to where I was standing. "It is you! What happened to your hair? Let me look at you." She stepped back...and stared. "I can’t believe it’s you."

"It’s me. What do you think?"

"Honestly, I’m not sure, but I think I might learn to like it. Can I touch it?"

I nodded, and she reached up and rubbed my neck. A strange smile came over her. "I definitely might learn to like it!"

"What made you cut your hair? Did you get in trouble?"

"No. I’m not in trouble. It’s a long story, but the short version is that my brothers and I decided we wanted to do something different, so we did. That’s all." Not wanting to have to answer questions all day, I said, "I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go. Take care."

"You too. Oh, by the way, do you mind if I tell Sheila about your haircut? She'll positively die!"

I thought, "You’re going to tell her, whether I say it’s OK or not." I was gracious and didn’t say it though. I said, "Sure, if you want to."

She surprised me by giving me a kiss on the cheek when she walked away. I stood there wondering what had brought that on, and trying to guess how many people she would call. I thought, "Oh well, this could be a good thing. If she tells everyone today, it won’t be such a shock when I walk into school Monday." My next thought was, "No such luck, Chad. Them hearing about it ain’t the same as them seeing it. You’re gonna catch hell Monday morning. You can count on it."

Kevin saw Jill as we were leaving, and he evidently thought the same thing I did. He said, "Uh-oh. The school crier saw you. I’d be willing to bet you there’s at least a dozen messages waiting on you when we get home."

Our time at the lake was fun, even though we were interrupted a few times by people from the older generation who came up to comment on our hair. However, we had to cut our time short. None of us had thought about the fact that the skin on the sides and back of our heads had never seen the sun. Pretty soon we all had bright red necks, so Dad made us go home. The sunburn was hurting by the time we got home.

Mom died laughing when she first saw us. Dad let her laugh a minute, and then said, "Are we that funny looking, Theresa?"

That made her laugh more.

I was beginning to get my feelings hurt when she gasped, "I’m not laughing at your haircuts. I love them. I’m laughing because I thought you guys might wind up with whitewalls, but I never dreamed you’d come home with red walls!"

Once she stopped laughing, she gave us all so many compliments that we were blushing.

Later that night I went outside, and sat on the patio. Dad came out. "Everything all right, Chad?"

"Yes, sir. I was just thinking about how strange life is."

"Strange in a good way, or strange in a bad way?"

"I’m not sure, but it’s really strange." I thought for a second, trying to find words to fit my emotions. "I was really thinking about how weird it is that I went from having a fit if you could see the bottom of my ears, to loving the fact that I have at least two or three inches of bald space above my ears." Another pause. "Just yesterday I would’ve never dreamed I would have short hair, much less like it."

Dad paused. "Son, your depth of perception never ceases to amaze me. I love how you look at life." He rubbed the back of my head, and I struggled not to jerk away from him. My sunburn hurt! "Do you really like it? Just yesterday I was certain this was the best thing for you. Tonight, I’m filled with doubt, and maybe a little guilt. I know you boys are gonna have a hard time with this for a while."

"No, Dad! Don’t feel guilty. You didn’t make us do anything. We chose to, and I have no regrets. Right now, I feel like this is my forever haircut."

He didn’t say anything. He just hugged me for a long time. I felt tears running down his face.

As he was leaving I said, "Dad, you were right. My first trip to a barbershop was definitely memorable. I doubt I’ll ever experience anything like it again. One thing is for sure, I’ll never forget this day. Thank you."

Saturday morning Dad handed each one of us a jar of Vaseline. "I really think our hair will look better with this in it. Yesterday Mr. Behan said it holds better than the Brylcreem, and it definitely shines more. He also said it doesn’t wash out as easily, so we won’t have to apply it as often. I think it should become part of our trademark."

Kevin muttered, "Brylcreem doesn’t wash out that easily. I know."

Mom muttered, "I don’t think it washes out of the pillowcases either."

Dad ignored them both. "Boys, y’all go get dressed. It’s time for another day filled with masculine adventures."

Mom grinned. "Do you mind if I cancel my shopping trip with Carol, and go hiking with you guys? I can’t wait to be seen in public with my handsome men."

Dad laughed. "My credit cards would thank you for doing that, and I’m pretty sure I speak for the whole crew when I say it would be an honor to be seen with such a beautiful lady as you."

I didn’t get to hear the rest of the conversation, because the phone rang. I went to answer it, and I recognized Mr. Behan’s gruff voice immediately. He asked for Dad. Being nosy, I stayed to see if I could figure out what Mr. Behan wanted. The side of the conversation I could hear was interesting, but not very informative. I was dying to know what they were talking about.

Dad said, "They what? Why?’

"That’s just about the strangest thing I’ve ever heard of!"

"Are you kidding me?"

"I guess it couldn’t hurt, but I’m damned if I understand it."

"When?" "Now?" "I guess it’s ok, if they hurry. We were about to go hiking."

"Are you going to be in it too?"

"In all of my life I have never imagined such a thing. This beats all."

"Oh, the scene of the crime, is it? Sounds biased to me."

"We’ll have to change clothes. That’ll take some time."

"OK. I guess we’ll be there in about an hour."

He hung up the phone, and all four of us stood there staring at him.

Mom finally spoke up. "Well?"

He looked at her. "I could live ten-thousand years, and I would never imagine such a thing!"

Mom looked a little irked. "I gathered that from your conversation. Exactly what is this ‘such a thing’?"

"Well, I told you how we talked to those old men outside the grocery store?"

She nodded--impatiently. She was beginning to get "the look" in her eyes.

"Well, the retired reporter called someone at the newspaper office. They want to interview us for an article."


"Well, it seems a family with four short-haired men is newsworthy in our society. They want to feature us in an article."

It was Mom’s turn to be bamboozled. She stood in shock for a few seconds, and then started shaking her head.

Dad looked at us. "Are you guys up for this?"

Brent was the first to answer. "Would my name be in the paper? That would be cool! Kevin gets his name in there all the time, but not me. My friends would think I was awesome."

Dad looked at me. "I’m in. You said you wanted us to show the world that we’re different. This would definitely show them."

Kevin was thinking so hard I could hear his wheels turning. Evidently Dad could hear them too. He said, "Kevin, you’re obviously deep in thought. What are you thinking?"

"Well, Dad. I’m not sure this is a good thing for us."

"Why’s that, son?"

My suspicious nature kicked in, and I spoke up. "I know. He’s afraid some of his friends might think he’s a dork, or have something bad to say about him, and Mr. Perfect can’t stand that. He thinks it’s ok for his name to be in the paper because he scored the winning touchdown, but this is unknown territory for him. He’s scared. He’s a gutless chicken."

"Son, you can state your case without resorting to name calling, but you may have a valid point. What do you say to him, Kevin?"

"I wasn’t thinking about myself. Personally, I’m strong enough to handle anything that might come of this, but I’m worried about how it might affect Brent and Chad. You know kids can be cruel."

My temper got the best of me, and I screamed, "Dad, are you going to let him get by with this BS? He’s only thinking about himself!"

Dad frowned. "Language, son. You’re smart enough to state your case without going there." He thought for a moment. "I guess the final decision is up to me, and I want to see how this plays out. You guys go change your clothes, and I want you looking nice when you come back out here."

For the first time in my life I took over the role of leader—and Kevin hated it. He came out of the bathroom sporting the dry look. I shook my head at him. "Sorry, Kevin. It’s not going to happen."


"You know that’s not how Dad wants us to look in the pictures. Don’t disappoint him." Seeing a chance to get a dig in, I added, "Or should I say don’t disappoint him, yet again. Go put some Vaseline in your hair."

He called me a dirty name, but went back to the bathroom.

I wondered why Dad always managed to hear me when I said bad words, but he was never around when Kevin cussed.

After we were dressed, we headed to Mr. Behan’s for the second day in a row.

The reporter was already there, and a few minutes later a photographer showed up--and I knew right away they weren’t on our side. Both of them sneered when they saw us. I stared at their long hair, and sneered right back. I’m sure my look of disgust told them what I thought about their hairstyles.

I was bored within a few minutes. The reporter asked us all kinds of stupid questions (at least I thought they were stupid). I did like the way he recorded everything we said, making sure the microphone was right in front of our mouth when we talked.

Then the photographer wanted to take pictures, but Mr. Behan wouldn’t let any pictures be shot until he had combed all of our hair to his satisfaction. Finally, the photographer started taking pictures--and he took about ten-million of them. I thought he’d never get done. He took pictures of each of us boys alone, the three of us together, then with Dad and finally took some with Mr. Behan standing with us. Just when I thought he was done, he made us all sit in the barber chair while Mr. Behan pretended to cut our hair.

As we were leaving, I asked the reporter when the story would run in the paper. He said, "I don’t know. It could be tomorrow, or it could be next month. It just depends on whether there’s anything interesting going on--which probably means this’ll never get published, since almost anything is more interesting than a few guys getting a weird haircut." He frowned. "Honestly, I don’t even know why the editor wanted a puff piece like this written, but he seems to think it’ll make a decent human interest story. I think he’s wasting my time. It’ll probably wind up being buried on the last page. No one will read crap like this."

I was the first one awake on Sunday morning and I ran out to get the paper, just in case our story had been published. I unfolded the paper, and immediately saw it. It was right there on the front page. There was a large picture of us and Mr. Behan. Below it were our school pictures where we had long hair. I personally thought the way they were lined up made it look like mugshots of criminals.

I wondered how they got our school pictures. I was pretty sure Mom hadn’t given them any pictures.

There was also a picture of Dad with long hair. I couldn’t figure out where the picture had been taken, but Dad hadn’t shaved for a few days, and he looked like a pirate.

I looked at the picture of Dad for a while, and he looked strange to me. I no longer recognized him. Short-haired-Dad was who I thought of as my father.

Then I thought, "It must’ve been a really slow day in the news if us getting a haircut made the front page."

I started reading the article. The headline was, "Local Family Bucks Long Hair Trend. Local Barber Happy to See It: Hopes It Is a Trend".

A local family has said a resounding, "No" to the current style of men having longer hair.
Mr. James L. "Jay" Thompson, along with his sons Kevin (16), Chad (14) and Brent (9) visited Behan’s Barbershop Friday and issued a firm rejection of the current men’s hair trend. The Thompson family opted to return to a page in history that some may feel should never be opened again. They walked into the barbershop with very stylish hair that covered their ears and collars, and left with short backs and sides—a style that was popular when Model-T vehicles were on the road--and a style that is just as outdated as Model-T’s. The extremely few men who now sport this hairstyle are "of an age," and Thompson’s relative youth makes it hard to understand his decision to go with a hairstyle that was outdated before he was born. His boys’ decision to copy him is even more bewildering.

Thompson said, "I was getting tired of looking like everyone else, and decided to do something to make myself stand out. My boys decided to try it out too." Further conversation revealed that the real spark that made Thompson change his view on hair styles was Mr. Ernest Rizzo of Rizzo and Associates. Thompson said, "As I said earlier, I was getting tired of the way I looked when I interviewed with Mr. Rizzo. He likes his employees to have neat hairstyles, so I got a shorter haircut. After realizing I liked the freedom shorter hair offers, I decided to go shorter still, and what you see is the results."

Brent, the youngest son, is an obvious fan of the style. "At first I didn’t like it when Dad got his haircut, but then I changed my mind. I think it looks real grown up, and I thought getting a grown up haircut might make me look more grown up. That’s why I got my hair cut. Well, that and because I didn’t want to be a chicken like Kevin was. He was scared at first. I wasn’t. I was brave."

When asked if this was a permanent thing or a one-time strike against the fashion world, Thompson said, "This is definitely a strike against the fashion world, but I think it’s more than a one-time strike." He followed this up with, "I can’t speak for my boys. They’re old enough to make up their own mind. Having said that, I would hope they will continue to do what is right for them, and not bow to the fashion police. I’m fine with it if they want long hair, but I want them to have it because that’s what they want, not because it’s what everyone expects. I know I will continue to set an example for them, and I will have short hair for a long time. I really like the look, the feel and the idea that I’m doing what I want. I don’t care what the future fashions are. From now on, I’m going to do what I want, whether it’s long hair or short, bearded or clean-shaven." He further added, "Being out of style is nothing new for me. I’ve always prized individuality, and today’s society has no room for it. Heck, I grew a big bruiser of a moustache back in the day when moustaches were not popular, and I did it just to be different."

Thompson continued, "I’ve heard of a few young men who have had short hair that were ostracized and criticized by everyone around them. I think the pressure for our kids to conform today is as great as the pressure the Nazi’s put on Germans to fall into line politically--even if the pressure is not as evil as what the Germans endured. Our young people’s lives may not be in danger, but their sense of community and emotional stability are definitely endangered if they step out of the bounds of what is currently fashionable. I’m hoping a few people will see that you can ignore society’s dictates and still be acceptable."

Several interviews were conducted of local residents about this story, and opinions on his actions are mixed, but leaned heavily toward censure. Almost everyone who was told about the story believes that the boys did not enter that barbershop willing. Chuck Evans said, "There’s not a young man on this planet who’d get a haircut like that unless he was being threatened--much less three boys in one family. The odds are astronomically high against that happening in today’s world. I’m sure that father coerced those boys. Absolutely certain of it." An unidentified man made the observation, "It seems to me that Mr. Thompson is bragging about standing up against peer pressure, but I think he’s really just bowing to another type of pressure: peer pressure from his boss and associates." Mrs. Grace Stahl said, "If he wants to be a freak, that’s his business, but I hate how he made his boys get a short haircut--and I will never believe he didn’t force them to go through with this horrible act. Those boys will probably be scarred for life. He should go to jail for child abuse." She continued. "I’d like to ask him if he’s so worried about kids being ostracized, why is he putting his boys in a position where they will certainly be ostracized?"

Robert Greene was the only one who was supportive of Thompson. "I don’t care if the man had to beat, bribe or coerce the kids to get them into a barbershop, I’m just glad there’s a few less hippies in the world. If the boys went of their own free will, they have my utmost respect, and I’m grateful that they were willing to take a step toward making this world a better place."

Local barber Andrew Behan (the man responsible for the haircuts) has been in business at his location on S. Green St. for 56 years, and is famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) for his antipathy for the current vogue in men’s hairstyles. In an interview yesterday, he said, "I haven’t been happy with the way men are wearing their hair since the day Elvis first introduced his greasy mop, and what folks are doing to their hair today is even worse. I believe men should look like men, and nowadays I can’t tell the boys from the girls."

When reminded that many men are wearing decidedly masculine beards and moustaches with their long hair, Behan said, "That don’t make me no never mind. A bearded man with long hair just looks like a female ape to me. I stand by what I said, a man should look like a man, and that means short hair."

Don Wilbur related how he had visited Behan’s Barbershop and got a surprise. "That man has earned his nickname of ‘Butcher Behan’. I had heard about The Butcher, but didn’t think the stories were true. I was almost broke, and needed my hair trimmed so I decided to visit him since his prices are lower than anyone else’s. I asked him to take an inch off, and he peeled my head. My hair was touching my shoulders when I walked in, and I walked out with a crewcut. My hair still hasn’t recovered from his butchery."

One resident was quick to defend the barber. Amos Anderson said,"He’s been cutting my hair for almost forty years, and I’ve never had a bad haircut. His cuts might be a little shorter than you want, but they’re always top quality."

I threw the paper on the floor after reading it, and fumed. I picked up the article again and started re-reading it. I rolled my eyes when I read how Dad was bragging about his moustache and thought, "You just had to say that, didn’t you, Dad?"

As I read, I started muttering. "How dare he?" "Model-T, my ass!" "That just pisses me off!" I got really wound up when I read what Mrs. Grace Stahl said. "Grace, you’re a first class witch. What gives you the right to judge us like that? I’m not scarred…"

Dad walked in about then, took one look at me and said, "Not good, huh?"

"Dad, this is crap. That reporter obviously hates short hair, and every sentence in this story is slanted. I wish I could get my hands on him. I’d…"

"Whoa, cowboy. Don’t let him get to you."

"I can’t help it. Wait until you read this."

"I’m not going to read it until I’ve got some coffee in me. It’ll wait."

"You might want to put some whiskey in your coffee."

"That bad, huh?"

He came over and picked up the paper, and started reading without waiting for his coffee. His face quickly turned red.

The bast…" He stopped and looked at me. "The son of a…" Another look my way. "The sorry mother…"

I said, "Dad, it’s OK. I know what you’re thinking. You can say it."

He grimaced. "I will not say it. I’ll settle for calling him a low-life, toad-sucking, scum-eating scoundrel!" He finished the article, and for the second time that morning the paper was thrown on the floor. He almost yelled. "I don’t believe that skunk interviewed anyone. I think he made that stuff up just so he could say what he wanted to."

He went to make his coffee and I heard him mutter, "At least Mr. Rizzo will be happy that his name was in the paper."

The whole family spent the rest of the day trying to find words to express what we thought about that reporter...and we all failed to express it adequately.

To say we were the talk of the school would be an understatement, but it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated...until class started. There were three copies of the article on my desk when I went to sit down, and I was OK with that. What was bad was the way Mrs. Sprouse started the day. "As we often do, we’re going to begin with current events, and since one of our very own made the front page yesterday, let’s start with that. Chad, would you come up here?"

She read the article out loud, and turned history class into psychology. "How did it make you feel when you first read this?" "How would you respond to the lady who thought your father was abusive?" "What emotions were you experiencing as you went through the process of deciding to go through this with this rather dramatic transformation?" Then she grilled me on how the whole idea of the haircut came about. Maybe my suspicious nature overwhelmed me, but I thought she obviously believed the article, and was trying to make Dad into the bad guy. That pissed me off. I somewhat lied. "Mrs. Sprouse, STOP trying to get me to say my father is abusive! I’ll never say it because it isn’t true! He’s a good dad, and I’m very damned...ugh...I mean danged lucky to have him as a father! The ONLY thing Dad had to do with this was get his own hair cut. At first we thought it was strange, but after a while we got used to it, and then eventually decided we liked it. Us boys had a long conversation about it, and we went to Dad. We asked him to take us to the barbershop with him, not the other way around. You can believe it, or not, but it’s the truth. "

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, she opened the discussion up to questions from my classmates. I was bombarded with queries. I’ve never been as happy as I was when the bell rang, and the questions stopped.

My mood lightened when the School Cryer came up to me. "Hi, Chad." Without giving me a chance to say hi back she kept going. I was touched when she said, "I’ve heard a lot of chatter about your hair, and wanted to see how you’re doing. I know some of our classmates can be pretty rough." She looked bashful. "I’ve been telling everyone I really like it." Her eyes shone. "That pomp is awesome. It makes you look sexy, like a movie star, or even Elvis."

She reached up and moved a strand of hair that had fallen down, and I knew that the answer to my dilemma was tied into that motion, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I stopped listening to her, and my brain started racing, trying to figure out what the answer was.

She brought me back to reality when she kissed me again.

The idea nagged at me all day, but the answer just wouldn’t show up in my brain.

That night, after delivering a full account of our day, the whole family sat down to watch TV. Dad was complaining about there being nothing to watch on (as usual) and he was constantly having one of us jump up to switch channels (as usual) (this was in the day before remote controls were readily available. Dad used us as a remote control).

Brent was the one switching channels. Dad had said, "Next" and Brent was getting ready to go to the next station. I startled him when I yelled, "STOP!". There was an old movie on, and the guy on screen reached in his back pocket, pulled out a comb and started combing his hair. Something about his stance intrigued me, and I thought, "That’s it. That’s the answer. I’m going to try it."

Dad looked startled. "Surely you don’t want to watch this. What’s going on?"

I brushed him off. "It was nothing. I just had a thought. You can switch it."

I started my experiment the next day...and it worked. People were no longer fixating on my short hair.

I tried it for a few days, and then decided to tell Dad. I waited until we were alone and started the conversation. "Hey, Dad. You remember the other night when I stopped Brent from changing the TV?"

"Yeah. What about it?"

"Well, seeing that guy combing his hair made me think of something. I’ve tried it for a few days, and it has really solved my problem."

"Did your problem have something to do with your hair? I’ve really been worried about what you’re going through, and I don’t think you’re telling me the whole truth about how you’re being treated."

"Yes, sir. It had something to do with my hair, but it’s OK now." I pulled my comb out of my pocket. "This has saved my life."

Whatever he was expecting, a comb was not it, and the look of puzzlement on his face was fun to see.

"You see, Dad. You were right. Some kids were giving me a hard time, but don’t worry. It hasn’t been anything I can’t handle. I’m not going to go Matthew on you."

He laughed. "I certainly hope not. Now, tell me how a comb has saved your life."

"Seeing that guy combing his hair the other night helped me figure out how to divert attention from my haircut to my pomp. I started combing it all the time, and every time someone would comment on my haircut, I’d start combing my pomp, like it’s the best thing in the world."

"Son, you never cease to amaze me. I’m in awe of the way your mind works. I would’ve never dreamed of doing that."

I blushed. "Ah, it wasn’t anything special."

"Well, I’m glad you’ve found an answer. You might want to share that tip with Brent."

"Oh, I’ve already talked to him, but he’s not having many problems. The kids his age still think it’s cool that he made the front page."

"I’m relieved to hear that, and thanks for sharing the tip with Brent." He gave a sigh of relief. I’m so glad to know you’re not having as many problems."

"Yes, sir. It’s pretty cool that I found the answer, but that’s not the most exciting part. I have a new nickname at the school, and only the cool kids get nicknames."

He looked at me expectantly. After a second, he said, "...And what is that nickname?"

"Everyone is calling me ‘The Kid With the Comb’. No one has said anything about my hair in two days, except to say how awesome the pomp is."

Kevin seemed to be doing OK with his haircut, but of course, he was the golden boy. He was so popular that he could’ve showed up in his birthday suit, and everyone would still think he was awesome.

Even though he was still king of the school, I started to take the role of lead away from him, at least the lead on all things pertaining to haircuts. I enjoyed his consternation as he saw his power over us weakening. (Just in case you think I was holding a grudge. I really wasn’t, at least not a huge one. I started forgiving him pretty quickly, but somehow things had changed. I still loved him, and he was my best friend, but he was never quite as much in charge again.)

Two weeks after our first haircut, I knocked on Mom and Dad’s bedroom door. Dad’s sleepy voice grunted, and I took that as an invitation to go in.

"Wake up, Dad. It’s time to get ready."

"Huh? I don’t remember having anything planned for today?"

"Oh, come on, Dad. Sure you remember. Mr. Behan said we had to come back in two weeks, and it’s been two weeks. Let’s go!"

"Son, he’s open all day. We don’t have to be the first ones there."

"Sure we do, Dad. There might be a long line if we wait too long, and then our Saturday would be wasted."

He groaned. "I guess you’re right, but we’re not leaving until I have at least one cup of coffee."

"That’s OK. I plugged in the coffee pot before I woke you up. It should be ready soon. Now get up."

That was the start of a family ritual. Every other Saturday I would wake Dad up, and our family was always the first ones at the barbershop. Mom started calling Barbershop Saturday her day off, since we got into the habit of going to Denny’s for breakfast after leaving the barbershop.

I also made sure Dad kept us supplied with Vaseline, and tutored Brent on how to make his pomp look the best--as well as reminding him to comb his hair if it looked less than pristine.

Summer finally came and I endured the last day of school. We were getting ready for bed when I heard Kevin say, "Hey, Dad. I had a thought today. What if we all went to Mr. Behan tomorrow and got flattops for the summer?"

I heard the grin in Dad’s voice when he said, "Great minds think alike. I had the same thought today."

I walked up to them and said, "You’re both a day late and a dollar short. I asked Mr. Behan last week if he would be there at 7:00 in the morning. I told him we wanted to start our summer out right."

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