Beard or no beard?

Day 5. Sick of me documenting the Beard.
Beard or no beard?
For 17 years, it’s been no beard for my husband. Then, my brother-in-law James threw down the gauntlet. He plays hockey and his team decided they wouldn’t shave until they lost in the tournaments.
A novel idea, no? So I looked at Tim and begged him to do the same. What might happen if he let his beard grow? Nothing, nothing at all, I assured him. Come on, do it!
OK, confession. He has never grown a beard because it takes a few days to even get a little scruff. And it comes in pale/auburn, barely noticeable. So I’ve never gotten more than a long weekend out of him.
But, alas, he relented. It was game on. The beard would stay until Easter. Two full weeks handed down from the hair gods.
And it took nearly every one of those days but holy smokes, it was quite nice when it arrived, complete with red, brown and black flecks in it. For the first time he looked older than the 21-year-old boy I married. When I’d catch sight of him anew, perhaps in the light of the open fridge door, I’d think, who is this older man walking around in my kitchen in his boxers?
He quickly took on the name Red Beard in the first week. And then, a week later, Lumberjack. He took to rubbing his chin and coming late to dinner because he was out “felling trees with an ax.”
Also, he tried to sell me paper towels halfway through week two.
Nelson, our 7-year-old, was unhappy because the beard “went through his shirt” when Daddy wrestled him. He declared one night, while tucked into a quiet dark bedroom, “I want my real Daddy back!”
My new man and I laughed about that all the rest of the night on the couch, whilst their Daddy was away.
The beard project began while we were traveling on spring break. So when he left he was his usual boyish self, smooth shaven. Some 10 days later he would return as Red Beard. That Monday when he got home, I asked, “So, what did the guys say about your beard?”
“Nothing,” he said, scoffing (scruffily). “You know that!”
I did know this. But secretly I thought the change was so fab that everyone would HAVE to say something or, minimally, begin growing a beard of his (or her) own. (Sidenote: At one point Red Beard tried to challenge me to a facial hair duel as well. I felt I had a fair run at it but declined.)
“Fine,” I said. “But I know that my girlfriends will notice.”
Less than two hours later, we were walking at Mud Lake trail when my friend Molly appeared. She held it in for a good 20 minutes before finally looking at me, stroking her chin and tipping her head toward Tim.
“Red Beard?” she mouthed.
I hooted with victory. “See! I told you that the chicks would notice!”
Molly’s father looked at me with his gray, unruly beard and, perched on the tailgate, nodded, touching his beard. “Oh yeah.”
And here’s the best part: Easter has come and gone. We have purchased a $9.99 beard trimmer and it appears, just maybe, that Red Beard is here to stay for a while. Don’t worry, I’ll have him out before Nelson’s real Daddy returns.

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