Monday, February 6, 2012

Interview with Lila Mae Johnson, owner and operator of Lila's Cut and Shear

With Song of Life, we have a small town, a younger man (Cas) and older woman (Sunny) who must face teir pasts, their future and a town of watchful eyes.

To get the full and true picture of events that unfolded, the best place to go is the beauty parlor. and that would be Lila's Cut and Shear. So we introduce Lila Mae Johnson who has agreed to answer a few of our questions.

You've lived in Nevis for all your life. Did you always know Sunny?

Heavens, child, we went to school together. Took the bus from Nevis to Eufala every day. 'Course, there wasn't much socializing 'tween whites and blacks back then, at least not in public. Even though the schools had been integrated. But Sunny never really cared about all that. More'n once she embarrassed me by taking the seat beside me and talking about the fish we'd caught or some such thing. My mama worked at the Crossroad and old Mr. Douglas let us live in one of the rooms in the basement. Sunny and me did a lot of hiking and even more talking, but it wasn't something I wanted known.Things were different back then. Folks complain nowadays, but I'm here to tell you it's better than it was.

You knew Sunny and Jim her husband. What was the general impression of them around town?

Oh, Jim Douglas, he was the local Prince Charming. Even at school in Eufala, he stood out from the other boys. I'll always maintain it was that hair of his. Pure waste if you ask me. He always kept it covered with a cap unless they was singing the national anthem. A woman would have killed for hair that color. Sunny made a decent princess too, being blond and all, but gradually it become known she was more than a princess, she'd grown into a queen. Now Jim, he stayed Prince Charming, and for sure he could charm the socks off even the men. But that don't put bread on the table, does it?

When did you first notice Cas?

Let's see now, when did I first notice Cas ... reckon it was the first day he come to town. It was early, but I open early, don't see the need to be keeping those fancy city hours. He's a fine looking man, makes a woman wish she was younger, you know? Sunny probably wished that too, but Cas, he don't care nothing about her age, he just loves her. He's a good man, just like my Stan.

What was the general consensus about this young, good looking stranger?

Only one set against him was Ennis and Ida Ratcliff. Ennis, he likes to jump to conclusions and Ida mostly parrots what her brother says without thinking it through. 'Course Wayland Edwards didn't like Sunny taking up with Cas one bit. He'd talked himself into believing Sunny was his woman, no matter what she said to him. Ain't it strange how one thing leads to another? But most folks liked Cas, he gave them no reason not to.

How did people first figure out that Sunny was losing her heart to this young man?

Couldn't say, I'm sure. Might of been when they went out to dinner at Mimi's. Brenda was their waitress and that woman could squeeze blood from a stone if it caught her interest and she was sure interested in Cas and Sunny.

When Cas's father, Jose Aguilar, came to town, how did you hear and what did you hear?

Didn't hear much. The man snuck into town and then he snuck back out and I never knew what happened til Crystal McLaren came rushing into my shop, saying Ennis done arrested Cas.

Did you have any idea that the events that occurred, would or could?

Ma'am, Nevis might be small, but you got southerners living here, decendents of soldiers, moonlighters and hunters. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Do you think the feelings of the town have changed toward Cas now?

Why sure. I don't think anyone was real set against Cas in the first place, except maybe Ida Ratcliff, because everyone knows Ennis is an idiot.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

I've lived awhile and I'm hoping I'll be living a good while more. I seen people fall in love - I got a husband of my own that I love to death. But I ain't never seen nothing like what happened between Sunny and Cas. I never seen two people fit each other better. It's like they grew up together, known each other all their lives. Never seen anything like it. Gives me faith in human kind, it does. Sure does.

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