There are two sorts of pelt in my family. My grandfather Adam, and my brother Jim got the Diack gorilla gene, while my father Alex, my brother Don and I inherited the MacPherson coat, which looks a good deal more like a frozen chicken.
I've thought about doing this before, and have even avoided my razor for a couple of consecutive days, but I've never liked the result...or the itch. This time, however, I thought that I saw possibilities. After all, hair can cover a multitude of chins.
I never considered putting it to a plebiscite - there are only two people whose opinion matters - but for some reason, there were votes on the subject, and for awhile, they seemed evenly divided. My beard was blond, sparse and scruffy. For the first few weeks, it was hellishly uncomfortable. I went to one of my Mood Disorder Association meetings with about fourteen days growth, and managed to alarm the entire group. I had calls from seventeen people that evening, all seeking reassurance that I hadn't taken too many pills or opened a vein.
In time, the itching stopped, the whiskers evened out, and I began to look a little bit less like an abandoned Chia Pet. I still looked into the mirror while holding my neglected double-edge razor and thought maybe just a little trim. One thing, though, has stilled my hand.
Brie, our little, odd cat has come to love my beard, and she will sit for hours on my lap rubbing her hard, flat little head against my chin, eschewing all prior cat-brushes in its preference. Sometimes, I'm hard pressed to say how much of the fur on my chin is hers, and how much is my own. Last Thursday evening, there was another complication.
While I was out, the Tall Lady took a drive to VOKRA Command Central. When I returned, I discovered that our family had yet another addition. Schroeder, the Rafter Kitten is about twelve weeks old, tiny, proud and handsome. We believe that there is some British Short-Hair in his family, and as a consequence, his head occupies about one-third of his total continental mass. The rest of him resembles a number thirteen billiard ball. In sum, he looks like a tiny snowman with a few orange patches. The picture is completed by two perfect, little triangular ears and a small, stripey toothpick of a tail. When you look for the definition of "cute" in your dictionary, you may find Schroeder's picture there.
He has not yet been accepted into the Inner Circle of the Flying Fellini Sisters and la Bella Bianca. In fact, if he hadn't already had a name when we met him, we were going to call him "Cuffy". He gets thumped a lot. He was lonely. It was just a short time since he'd been trapped, and he missed his mom terribly. On his first night in his new home, Schroeder was thrilled to be invited to share the big bed with us.
At about three o'clock Friday morning, I was awakened by loud cheerful purrs as the new guy wrapped himself around my neck and snuggled into my beard. I was only a little surprised when he started trying to nurse on the whiskers.