Fred Atkinson can be recalled as the inventor of the “Lafar Ruppe” haircut that he gave to Lafar’s son “Little” Fred Ruppe about 1936. Little Fred was not the only one who was subjected to a practical joke when Fred wielded his barber clippers.
Fred was the Cherokee Creek Community’s unofficial barber, and for many years he gave haircuts to most of the men living in the community. From half to a full dozen men would gather at his house each Saturday afternoon or evening to get a haircut, and would utilize the waiting time talking and “batting the breeze” with each other.
One Saturday, one of the men who was waiting his turn told Fred he would pay for the haircut if Fred would cut off all Boyce Humphries’ hair when he came in for his regular haircut. Fred readily agreed, and once Boyce was seated in the barber chair, clipped off all his hair. Horrified, Boyce asked Fred why he would do such a thing to him. Fred answered that since he had been paid to do a job a certain way, he had to do it.
All the men got a good laugh, but Boyce, who was a Deacon of the church, had to help take up collection the next morning while sporting his new haircut. His wife Addie apparently was not particularly pleased with his haircut either, since friends say she made him wear either a toboggan or a hat until his hair grew back out.
What’s good for the goose
A group of Fred’s friends and neighbors, probably most of whom had been the butt of Fred’s teasing or jokes at one time or another, decided to turn the tables on him.
Fred and Emma went grocery shopping and returned home to find all their living room furniture roped and tied up in the big oak tree in their front yard. After retrieving the furniture, Fred, not to be outdone, went to the store, donned a pained expression, and spread the word among those gathered there that he had hurt his back trying to get the furniture out of the tree. He further embellished the story by saying that he had to hire a man to finish the job, and the man had dropped his best chair, breaking it all to pieces. He felt all those responsible should chip in and reimburse him for the hired man’s wages, as well as for the broken chair.
Surprisingly, considering all the pranks Fred had played, one of the men who had helped put the furniture in the tree fully believed Fred’s tale, and asked his parents for a loan to pay his part of Fred’s loss. As usual, Fred had the last laugh.