Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Little River - William Daniel Moore

William and Amanda were living in South Carolina raising hogs when one hog turned up missing. In those days, a man's worth was measured by his livestock, his land and his trade. When William made the twenty mile trek to the country store, he never expected to see his prize hog tied outside. Inside the store, was the man who stole him.

Pigs form a bond with their handlers. They're sensitive to change and react negatively to stress and mishandling by a careless owner. William knew right away that his hog had been mistreated. He squared his shoulders and approached the man who stood near the grocer's counter. 
Not known for small talk, he launched into a confrontation with the newcomer to the small community. 

(Photo Credit: By Mark Whitby from USA ([1]) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Within moments, fists were flying. Although small in stature, William landed a blow that sent the man flying backwards.As he fell, his head struck firmly against the wall, sending an ax crashing down from its place on the shelf. The blade found its home in the skull of the downed man.

William returned to the farm in a rush and told Amanda, "Pack up my things. I have to leave the state." She did as she was told. He planned to send for her and the children when he was able. When the money came, it was barely enough to buy a few supplies before they headed out. They traveled south along the Trail of Tears until they reached the Withlacoochie River where she contracted with a man to convert the wagon into a raft and they floated down to Marion County where they homesteaded property. This is her story.

South Carolina - 1849

Red streaks of light etched the horizon as Amanda took one long look over the fields she'd worked for the last few years. The memory would have to hold her for a long time. With the wagon loaded, she made one last trip through the small cabin in which her first child had entered this world. Her Willie, always a sweet and quiet boy, now waited, holding the reins of the mule as she climbed aboard. She looked to be no more than a child herself as she cracked a whip just above Nellie's ear. Always reluctant to beat the animal who had served her so faithfully in the toil of farming, the whip served to arouse the dozing animal. As always, Nellie required stronger inspiration.

Amanda reached into the fruit barrel for an overripe apple. Locating a bruised piece of fruit which had been packed for this task, she climbed down to tempt Nellie with breakfast. By pulling and teasing the mule, she managed to get the wagon rolling before offering the fruit as a reward. Quick-stepping alongside, she pulled herself aboard and settled into place alongside Willie. Her infant son, Charlie, quietly slept behind them as the wagon gained speed in time with Nellie's chomping. She made quick work of the apple and continued her plodding forward. Amanda watched the small farm diminish in size as the distance increased.

The last hog sold and the money collected only yesterday at the Country Store, supplies for the trip were purchased - flour, corn meal and some dried beans. The bill settled, her goodbyes said, they rolled forward toward a new land. Word finally arrived from William, who now went by the name of John, telling her where to find him. The few greenback bills he sent would have to sustain them on the long journey south.

Story ©Peg Cole - 1986 Adapted from a story told to me by my father.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Braids - Angel's Field, by Mike Friedman

The unlikely three companions who set out on a journey down the mountain have no idea of the dangers which await them on the road. Cyrus, a wizened woodsman and elder who tends the orchard, and Angel, who gathers and sows her colorful seeds, start off together on their quest in pursuit of the thief who has removed a tree from the orchard. Loss of the tree prevents a young girl from crossing over from this side of the realm to the next life. Her future remains in jeopardy without the guardian who resides within the tree. When they stop for rest and refreshment at a way station for boys, Carpenter, a young man captivated by Angel’s violet eyes, joins them from The Swing Zone where a lively game of baseball is in play.

Along their journey down the mountain, the trio encounters strange and deadly beasts, language barriers, an old world silk production enterprise, strong river currents, hunger, fatigue and determination. Spreading their talents and treasures with those along the trail, the trip requires ingenuity and perseverance on the part of all three who seek this missing tree.

The thief, a wily peddler named Seede, is ruthless in his treatment of those along his path, leaving behind, a trail of anguish, deception and loss. His eventual destination, to the Castel Mansion, is littered with remorseless acts for which he is well-known. His solicitor, Captain Castel, is willing to go to any means to cure his terminally ill daughter, including that of employing a hardened criminal to bring him what is required.

The story, an allegory of life, with its perils and pitfalls, moves along with a descriptive charm likened to fairy tales of old. There are strange inventions, tree houses, antique carvings, and games for children who await their final destination across the river on the other side.

Mike Friedman, beloved author of The Carriage Driver and the Emerald Wells CafĂ© series, along with a vast collection of short stories, weaves a web of intrigue, suspense and satisfaction within these too few pages of Braids – Angel’s Field.  His charming illustrations and imagination made me wish for more tales of adventure by this trio and other memorable characters peppered throughout the story.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Performing Salon Services without a License? Beware.

Did you know that there are substantial penalties for performing salon services on others if you don't have an active license? Yes, it's true. 

For most states, there are regulations that govern individuals and salons providing cosmetology services of any kind on others.

For example, in Texas, the Occupational Code Chapter 1602 defines Cosmetology services as treating a person's hair by:
1.    Arranging, beautifying, bleaching, cleansing, coloring, cutting, dressing, dyeing, processing, shampooing, shaping, singeing, straightening, styling, tinting or waving;
2.    Providing ancillary services that include bobbing, clipping, cutting, or trimming hair;
3.    Cutting hair as a separate service.
Providing ancillary services to others includes hair braiding or weaving - the process of attaching, by any method, hair pieces or hair extensions to a client’s hair and/or scalp. Weaving is also known as hair integration or hair intensification.
Even shampooing and conditioning hair or servicing a wig or artificial hairpiece, whether on a person's head or on a mannequin block, without a license is in violation of the code.

Shampooing someone's hair is a no-brainer, right? Not necessarily. How do you know when NOT to shampoo a client? Without regulations, and sometimes even with the rules, salons neglect to follow proper sterilization and sanitation methods that ensure their clients are safe from communicable diseases.

My mother suffered third degree burns from a licensed stylist who turned the hot water on her head without checking the temperature. Blisters formed over most of Mom's scalp, her face swelled up double its normal size and she lost almost all of her hair. This was done by someone who had professional training.

In a busy salon, it's easy to get distracted and not follow proper procedures for safe salon practices. Inspect any salon and you'll probably find a few violations like improper storage of clean and dirty towels, debris in the sink drain, dirty combs and brushes, cross-contamination and more.

Beauty schools allow students who've finished a number of hours' training to work on customers who can get their hair done at low costWhile in school, I saw customers whose hair actually fell out in the sink as a result of chemical over-processing. It was a sobering experience for a new student learning the trade. I was once assigned a customer who had really messed up her hair when she fell asleep with the bleach chemical on her scalp. Based on the hair's condition, I was afraid to perform any service, including shampooing what little remained of her hair. It was so extremely damaged it would break off when combed. She assured me she would be happy with whatever I could do to fix it, and it turned out better than her own attempt, yet, she still blamed me for the poor outcome. There was little that could be done about her hair other than to let it grow out.
During beauty school training I was required to finish up another student's customer who was in the middle of getting a permanent wave. The previous student left the building with the customer's head hanging in the sink saturated with permanent wave solution. No timer had been set nor did I know how long the chemical had already been on her hair. The alkaline perm solution actually breaks down the sulfur and hydrogen bonds of the hair shaft and requires constant monitoring and specific timing. Wrapping the hair on perm rollers is the key to getting a good perm and her hair had less than thirty rollers over the entire head. You can imagine how things turned out. It wasn't pretty.

Cosmetology training covers not only history and theory, chemical processes for hair coloring, straightening and perms as well as how to cut hair. It teaches basic business skills like choosing a location for a salon, evaluating the competition in the area, break-even analysis and legal requirements for salon operations.

What are the license requirements for an individual to obtain a cosmetology operator's license? An applicant who wishes to obtain a license needs to meet these criteria:
1.    Submit an application
2.    Pay the required fee
3.    Must be at least 17 years old
4.    Must hold a high school diploma or the equivalent or be tested as to the benefit of training
5.    Must have completed 1500 hours of educational coursework
6.    Pass a written exam.

For a facialist, an individual must have completed 750 hours of training and meet the above requirements.
For a manicurist, the required training is 600 hours. To get a license for a hair weaving, braiding or specialty certificate, the person must complete at least 300 hours of training. 

Even to shampoo hair, you must have 150 hours of training.
According to the code, a person must pass the written examination before taking the practical exam which requires the individual to perform cosmetology services demonstrating their knowledge of proper practices on a live model.

There are regulations that specify the proper mixture of chemicals used to disinfect equipment and surfaces after contamination by blood and other pathogens. There is a difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sterilization and specific chemicals prohibited from use due to safety and health regulations. Training teaches the basics about communicable diseases such as ringworm, head lice, psoriasis, open wounds in the scalp, and when it's okay to perform services despite these conditions.

The next time you sit in a stylist's chair, take note of the condition of their station, the cleanliness of their area, their brushes, combs, scissors and towels. You might be surprised at what you see. Hopefully, it's a reflection of their excellent training and good business practices.