© 2006, Wanda L. Harrell
Frequently, the little girl would skip, and then hop, and sometimes run as she played tagalong with Daddy. His stride was so long it was difficult for her to keep up, but she always did her little girl best. Often trailing the larger silhouette his tall essence cast, she was her daddy's little shadow.
Following her daddy around was the most important thing she had to do, far more important than eating, sleeping, playing with her doll, Bobby, or anything else, except maybe riding around in her turquoise blue Murray pedal car. Never did it occur to her that her father occasionally needed time to do take care of things, to run errands or just have some time apart from her.
One afternoon, she giggled as he bounced her on his knee and sang Yankee Doodle Dandy. Her laughter abruptly stopped when he told her he had to take care of something. Her sweet, but pouting face clearly described her childish disappointment, when he encouraged her to join her mother in the big farmhouse kitchen.
In the kitchen, her mother smoothed out a large white towel on the enamel-topped, kitchen table, and then placed upon it a large, white enamel pan of water and a bar of Ivory soap.
"Time for a bath," her mother, announced. "You need a bath in the worst way."
"But I want to play...."
"Later," her mother interjected, "after your bath, you can play with your doll."
The little girl sighed and frowned, but since there seemed to be no other choice, she quietly complied. After removing her blue, seersucker sun suit and underwear, her mother placed her upon the towel, softly pushing her blonde hair aside to scrub away the tell tale evidence of the now long gone peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich.
Suddenly, the little girl heard a noise coming from the direction of the window. She wiggled as she strained to look outside. Her heart pounded when she caught a glimpse of her daddy walking toward the car with keys in hand. She yelled for him...to the top of her little lungs...but he didn't hear her voice pleading for him to wait. Squirming away from her mother, she jumped down from the table, darted for the screen door, and didn't notice when it slammed behind her. She ran...in a frantic dash...just as fast as her little legs would carry her.
"Daddy! Daddy! Wait for me!"
He turned to see his naked child racing toward him, her blonde curls bouncing with each hurried step she took. With eyes wide in amazement, he leaned out of the car. "Honey, I'm just going to get a haircut. I won't be gone long."
Breathless and with tears beginning to stream down her cheeks, she managed to say, "Oh, Daddy, I want to go; I want to go with you."
"You don't want to go to an old barbershop; it's not a place for little girls...just a bunch of men getting haircuts."
"Oh, I do, Daddy...I do...I want to go. Please!"
Laughing and kissing her tear stained face, he picked her up. "Okay, little shadow, you can go, but you have to get some clothes on...can't take you anywhere like this."
With arms wrapped about his neck, he carried her inside, and had her mother dress her again so she, her daddy's little shadow, could tagalong with him to the barbershop.
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