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“Dorene, if you don’t hold still, I’m gonna hog tie you to this chair!” Vada Faith whipped the pink salon chair around to face the big woman. She shook her comb under Dorene Moon's nose and the woman’s eyes grew wide as china plates. “I’m a nervous wreck! I’ve had customers up the wazoo this morning! Since Joy Ruth left to take Mama to the hospital for a test, I’ve had a dozen walk ins.”
“Well, forgive me for living!” Doreen snapped her tabloid closed.
Vada Faith swallowed hard and bowed her head in front of Dorene. “Whew!” She took a big breath and sighed. “I’m sorry, Dorrie. This day’s been a disaster. To start the morning off, the girls both needed panty hose for a school project. That meant a trip to CVS. I had to wake up James.” She smiled when she thought of her baby boy at home. “I had to take all three kids with me. Then, I learned from a note in their book bag the girls volunteered me to make pancakes on Monday, of all days!” 
She turned Dorene around so the woman could see herself in the mirror. She started sectioning off her customer’s hair. “The twins are going on a field trip to a farm. Mrs. Dibbs is buying maple syrup there. Thus, the pancakes.” She frowned at Dorene in the mirror. “I dared them,” she pointed her comb at Dorene in the mirror, “to volunteer me for one more thing!”
“Calm down, honey.” Dorene reached up and patted Vada Faith’s arm. 
The beautician wrapped another piece of gray hair around a roller.
“I’m praying for your Mama, honey. I heard about her tests. I’m sorry I jerked. It’s this story.” She held up the tabloid. “Someone has spotted an alien down on Bourbon Street. I hope it’s moved on by the time they have that Mardi Gras. Imagine! An alien in the middle of that mess. Who-wee.”
“That story isn’t true, Dorrie.” Vada Faith glanced down at the tabloid. “Yep, that’s the one. They make up those stories.They print tall tales.”
“This tabloid is called The Latest News, Vada Faith.” Dorene closed the magazine. “Aliens is everywhere, you know. I saw it on TV.” She shook her head. “Oops, I moved again. I do hope your mama gets well, honey. Sassy, over at the coffee shop, said she wasn’t feeling good. Sassy goes to my new church.”

Vada Faith put in the last roller and directed Dorene to a dryer. 
Thankfully, Dorene would soon be combed out and gone. The woman had the most stubborn gray hair Vada Faith had ever encountered.
Besides, one of Joy Ruth’s fussiest customers was due in any minute for a perm. Vada Faith prayed her sister would be back in time to do the perm.
“When you see your mama,” Dorene said, popping her head out from under the dryer, “tell her I put her on the prayer list over at the New Believer Baptist Church. It’s where I go now.” She opened the tabloid. “When they got rid of Brother Bow Shannon at Heavenly Tabernacle I switched my membership. They said he was a big flirt.” Dorene grinned. “Well, he was not. He was just real friendly is all. Besides too many young democrats go over there. You know those liberals. Always wanting to change things up. Don’t forget to tell your Mama.” Her words trailed off as she pushed herself back under the dryer.
“I’ll tell her.” Vada Faith wondered how the waitress at the coffee shop knew her mama had a test today. What was the old saying? Telegraph, telephone, tell a friend. It sure applied in Shady Creek.

Just then Cindy Mahan, her baby sitter, pushed through the shop door pulling James in his stroller behind her.
“Well, look who’s here.” Vada Faith smiled as she went to help Cindy guide the stroller through the doorway. Her ten-month old son grinned up at her. His chubby hands gripped the front of the stroller and his eyes sparkled.
“We got bored,” Cindy said. She plopped down in the nearest chair. “Me and Sweet Baby here couldn’t find a thing to do. He got tired of peek-a-boo and of his ABC blocks. We thought we’d come and visit his mama. Didn’t we, James?” She ruffled his blond hair. James smiled up at her and batted his big blue eyes. He was already a little flirt.
He clapped his hands and drooled down onto himself. He leaned over the stroller and stared at his new blue tennis shoes. He wore his blue shirt with the yellow bulldozer that read, “Daddy’s Little Man.” 
“Did you check out this little guy’s new Levi’s.” Vada Faith patted the baby’s leg. “They fit him perfectly.”
“I did.” Cindy leaned over and hugged the baby. “Little Fashion King of Shady Creek, West Virginia.” Cindy smiled. “James has a fan. An elderly lady in front of the diner. She leaned down and patted him on the foot. He kicked and squealed. The more he squealed, the more she laughed. Then she patted his leg and called him Robert. I told her his name is James. She frowned and headed across the street toward the drug store. She acted kinda odd.” 
“Well, buddy, are you collecting girlfriends already?” Vada Faith said, as James chewed on his hand and clung to his brown bear. She grinned as she watched him. He dropped the bear and gave her a smile. He put his fingers over his eyes, hiding from her.
  “Peek a boo!” She covered her eyes.
James squealed and kicked his feet. One of his blue shoes came off.
Vada Faith’s heart swelled. She leaned over and put on his shoe, tying the lace. She picked up James and hugged him. He jabbered over her shoulder and pointed at the overhead lights.
She walked him around the shop showing him the new children’s magazine with Mickey Mouse on the cover. She would take him to see Mickey someday.
She leaned down so Doreen could see James.
“Hey, little guy,” Dorene said, smiling and patting him. 
When he started yawning, Vada Faith put him back into his stroller. He promptly snuggled with his bear. “Nap time big boy.” She kissed his cheek and tucked his blanket around him. “Don’t forget, Cindy, I’ll be home early today.”
Cindy nodded and buckled James into his seat. Vada Faith helped her get his stroller through the door and out onto the sidewalk.
She waved them off and then went to the counter to pour a cup of coffee. There was a lull in the shop so she picked up a magazine and leafed through it, thankful for the quiet.
When Dorene’s dryer stopped, Vada Faith styled her hair and hugged her on her way out the door. Glad the shop was empty, she swept the hair from around her chair and added a few items to her grocery list.
Joy Ruth arrived just ahead of her customer, Candy Flowers. 

Happily, Vada Faith grabbed her purse and headed for the door.
Barbara A. Whittington, author of:
Vada Faith
Ezra and Other Stories
Dear Anne: Love Letters from Nam


  1. This is very interesting and you are very talented. I could actually visualize Veda Faith with a comb and Doreen on the chair.
    I have not been reading that many posts. Work is crazy and I feel older. Hopefully by the end of October we will not be that busy. then may be I will start reading and writing.
    Take care of yourself.

  2. Love love love, Barb! You've got a winner!

  3. Sorry I took so long to read this. I love it! I love these characters. I can picture the whole scene! You're so talented and I can't wait for the finished book!

  4. OH my thank all of you. I've had to fight to continue working on this story. Seems life continually intervenes. Chores, errands, other obstacles, health issues. I am not giving up and won't til I write the end on this one. Hugs to all o fyou for reading. Love the comments.

  5. Your writing always fills my mind with visuals, which I love. I feel like I'm in Shady Grove at the beauty shop, chuckling with Dorene and Vada, reading People Magazine and waiting my turn for a cut and color. You must keep writing. I know this is going to be quite an adventure for Vada--and your readers!


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