Monday, September 10, 2018

A Story About Love

Back in my sophomore year of college I grew a beard. It was the kind that Spock had in the episode of Star Trek and one of my cousins said it made me look like the devil. I think I kept it for at least a month longer just because of that comment.

When my grandmother saw it she smiled and told me about her grandfather. He had a long, full beard and would chew tobacco. Of course when he spat some of it would dribble down his chin into the beard. She said that, as a child, she didn't care. She loved him more than anything and would sit with him in the rocking chair while he told stories, with a spittoon on the floor and his beard stained with tobacco.

At the time I thought it was just a bit of reminiscing, and maybe a way of her saying she loved me beard or no. A few years back though something clicked and it took on a whole new dimension.

You see, my grandpa had a beard for as long as I could remember. I don't know when he started turning gray but by the time I knew him his hair and beard were completely white. He trimmed it in the style referred to as "mutton chops", where the beard kind of merged with the sideburns and mustache, and the chin directly below the mouth is shaved clean.

He used to joke about how his old razor broke and the new one he got just happened to be the same size as the shaved part of his chin. Grandpa had a weird sense of humor.

Grandma had a strong personality and very distinct ideas of how things should be. grandpa seemed a bit on the henpecked side, but he had his own interests. Really he was kind of a fastidious man who liked things just so. I now suspect he deferred to grandma because it was just plain easier and more peaceful that way.

Thinking about grandpa's beard I realized the beard was probably something that he was adamant about - grandfathers have beards. But as you can imagine, grandma certainly told him about her grandfather's beard and the tobacco. So they found a compromise.

I think about this every time I shave.