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Harriet Betts

A Trim for Great, Great-Grandfather

By Elliott J. Wilcox

"Harriet, I want you to give me a trim today," Thaddeus Betts said to his daughter. "Very well, father," Harriet responded.

So the chair was made ready in the south room, a sheet spread on the floor, a mirror nearby, a towel for the judge's shoulders, and some legal papers to keep him busy.

"How much do you want me to take off, father?" The judge, already immersed in his papers, was short. "Cut until I tell you to stop!" "Yes, father." And Harriet began to snip.

The room was sunny, the papers dull, and the judge's head began to nod. Snip, snip, snip went Harriet's scissors.

The judge's breathing deepened. It made an obligatto to the snip, snip, snip of Harriet's scissors. The long locks over the collar fell away. Then the ear lobes were revealed. Soon the top of the ears stood out, but still the judge slept peacefully on and Harriet kept diligently following her orders.

When the cold blade of the scissors slid along his skull, the judge stirred, yawned, and said, "Well, Harriet, I guess that's about enough. Hand me the mirror." "Yes, father," Harriet said demurely.

"Good Gad girl, what have you done!"

"Just what you told me to do, father. I'm sorry, but towards the end I did run out of hair."

The judge looked in mounting horror at his bald pate. "How can I sit in court looking like this?"

Harriet looked her irate parent right in the eye. "I followed your orders precisely, father. I guess you'll just have to get yourself a wig."

And that's just what he did until his hair grew out, taking it off to show his cronies, shaking his head in wonder at his spirited daughter.

Thaddeus died in office in Washington D.C. while serving as U.S. Senator for CT.

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