That episode was one of the rare times in Pendygraft's career that left him clueless and speechless. He prides himself in not only knowing about haircuts and styles and being able to do them, but also knowing what's happening in the world and talking about it.
"My customers expect me not only to be able to cut their hair the way they want, they also expect to know what's going on, in sports, government, politics, just about everything," he says. "This isn't just a barbershop. It's also a newsstand."
In short, the 59-year-old Pendygraft, whose barbershop is on Denmark Street across from the Country Hearth Inn, has spent most of his adult life developing into an expert on heads and headlines.
Pendygraft spent more than five years in the Navy, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. After he got out of the Navy, he went to work at the old Burlington Mills plant. It was a short career.
"I lasted exactly one night," he said. "The next night I was to work, I decided I'd rather go to Cincinnati and see the Reds play. My supervisor reprimanded me, and I decided to quit. I wanted to work for myself anyway."
Pendygraft chose barbering.
"You get paid in cash, can be pretty flexible in your hours with no night work at all, and you are your own boss," he says. "It's a job that was tailor-made for me."
Pendygraft used the G.I. Bill to pay for his tuition at a barber school in Indianapolis and later went to a stylist school. He has obtained the appropriate certifications and licenses over the years and attended continuing education programs.
He has set up his red-and-white striped barber poll at several shops in Lexington, Louisville and Danville. His latest - and he hopes last - stint has been the last six years in Danville, including a couple of years in Danville Manor Shopping Center and his current shop across from the Country Hearth Inn.
"When it comes to hair, I've done permanents and highlights, and I have done them for men as well as women, and I have done the wedge cut, or what they also called the Dorothy Hamill cut, the layered look and all those other cuts that were popular in the styling book of the 1970s and 1980s," he says. "I've done the mopheads and mullets, and big hair and bald heads."
The trend these days for men is shorter hair, Pendygraft says.
"Flat tops and crew cuts are real popular, while other customers want to keep their hair high and tight and come in often for trims," he says.
Hair styles and conversations
Pendygraft's customer base is varied.
"My customers include young and old, grade, high school and college kids, doctors and lawyers and other professionals, and factory workers and railroad workers," he says. "And most of them don't just want a haircut from me. They expect me to know about everything, especially topics they're interested in, whether it's sports or politics or local government."
Pendygraft not only customizes his cuts but also his conversations.
"Every customer is different, and I know when they come in the door not only what cut they want but also what topics they want to talk about," he says. "And I also know how far I can take a conversation. Some people I can argue and carry on with and they love it, while others I know to keep it under control."
But the longtime barber says his favorite customer is a woman he describes as the "best thing that ever happened to me," his bride of almost two years, Louisville native Debbi Pendygraft. The couple live in Boyle County.
"I have cut Debbi's hair several times," he says. "Like I said, there's hardly a style or cut, for women and men, I don't know how to do."
Pendygraft then pauses and says, "Well, there was that one I'd never done before - that double swoot-whatchamecallit cut I did for that Texan. I had never done it before, and I haven't done it since, but if another Texan comes in the shop and wants it, I can do it."