When I was little, my father worked on the road. Every week, he traveled from Ohio to Virginia and New York painting stripes on the roads. I only saw him on the weekends.
Oh but I looked forward to those weekends and all the treats they’d bring. When he walked into the door, I’d run into his arms and nuzzle my face into his beard. He always smelled like motor oil, paint, and Daddy. And he always made sure to bring me something, so that I would be surrounded by gifts from him until he could hold me himself.
If he was in New York, he brought back what I called, “Booberry muffins from New Nork.” And the stuffed animals! Orange bears that said, “You are my sunshine…” across the belly. Tiny gray elephants that I simply called “Phant” and slept with each night. I stayed up with him all hours of the night long after Mom had gone to bed, and we watched cheesy wrestling shows and rooted for Hulk Hogan.
But he didn’t come home one time…a man without that beard that I loved to nuzzle came in, and I bolted for my purple bedroom. I wedged myself between the wall and the bed, but I heard him coming.
“Hoot? Where are you going, you little spring thing?” he called. He thought I was playing.
But I was crying.
“Come say hi to Daddy,” he said.
“You’re not my daddy! My daddy has a beard!”
He chuckled and tried to tickle me out of my hiding spot, but I stayed and he eventually let me go.
Lucky for me, my dad can grow a beard in just a few days. I really didn’t think he was my daddy, and for years, I suffered from the guilt of pushing him away from me. But he’ll always be my daddy. 🙂
Beards are powerful things. They can dominate a person’s presence. They can make someone recognizable…or unrecognizable.
I am fascinated with facial hair. Let’s just hope I don’t ever grow any of my own.
BLIZZOW! Happy Friday, all! Cleveland Indians game tonight! WOO HOO!