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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



     I hate cold weather. Oh sure, the snow is nice and not having to deal with those pesky mosquitoes is a pleasure but really who wants to be so cold all the time that we have to bundle up like some sort of pack mule just to stay comfortable?

     Because of the cold, not to mention a job I love which requires me to work outside, I felt that my tender skin needed a little extra protection. Hey, at my age, keeping ones face somewhat resembling a baby’s is actually a pretty smart gamble.

     So for the first time since 1989 I grew a beard. Yep, not one of those sissy fu man chu’s but a real for goodness beard. I’ve been calling it beard 2.0. This might not make sense for anyone who hadn’t seen me back in the day of the first beard. I stopped shaving on Halloween that year and didn’t shave until my brothers wedding, which I believe was sometime in April.

Now there are a few lessons I learned from my first go around with growing a beard. First, if you never trim it, people will begin to mistake you for one of the Castro brothers. This was not terribly productive. I also learned that if you are going to get to the point where you think you should shave it off, go all the way. Unfortunately, I felt that I could pull off the “stache” and shaved the beard away, leaving this wonderful bushy Sam Elliot kind of thing under my nose. For some reason, there are few people who can actually pull of the “stache” and I will be man enough to admit that I’m not one of them. It was horrid looking and was shaved off shortly after that.

     So for nearly twenty-five years I’ve been facial hair free, but as the cold weather began to set in, I decided that shaving was not worth the energy. Before I knew it a month had gone by and I was sporting something between Sean Connery and those fellows from that Duck Dynasty show. I so shocked my regular barber that she commented that I must have really given up on trying to attract females, which of course made me even more determined to pull off the beard this time.

     I picked up a trimmer at the local Dollar General and studied the accompanying guards that came with it and nervously trimmed up the beard. Among the things I found out were that not only is trimming ones own beard very nerve racking, but that after it is done my bathroom sink looked like someone had shaved a woodchuck in it. Regardless of the mess, and the food that gets stuck in it from time to time I’ve actually started to enjoy my face being warm and I feel like I’m pulling it off.

     Of course there is a little gray in it, and at times it is itchy and drives me crazy but when I feel like shaving it all off I think of all the great men who came before me that kept beards in vogue. Jesus, U.S. Grant, Yosemite Sam, all great men who had great beards. I for one am happy to follow in their footsteps, although if any of the ladies are wondering, I’m sure that once spring hits my face will be as barren as North Dakota.

See you next week….remember, we’re all in this together.