Basically, this post was supposed to be about how much I’ve been wanting a haircut.
By a professional barber, I mean.
I now have an electric clipper thing, a rechargeable beard trimmer, given to me as a present, and hint, by my folks. But I’d already shaved off my beard and mustache, as the weather got warmer, and anyways it really did seem like airborne germs might hide out there, muggers in the shrubbery, snakes in the grass.
I watched a couple of YouTube haircut videos. The NYTimes how-to had a guy with the identical clipper and similar hair, but I’m not ready for the Paris Island look. I’m not vain about my appearance, it’s just, I might need to wear glasses someday, and I just like my ears where they are, attached to my head.
This old truck prompted this thought, about a haircut, and also, Grace Bedell.
Grace Bedell, from Westfield, NY.
Recognize the name?
Maybe not, but if you went to grade school in the U.S., you’ll probably remember the story.
She was the 11-year-old girl, who wrote to a presidential candidate before the ’60 election, and recommended that he grow a beard.
That was John F. Kennedy, of course, and he opted for Ray-Ban Wayfarers instead, and was elected President.
Actually that’s wrong.
Kennedy didn’t wear Ray-Bans, they were American Optical’s Saratoga sunglasses, still, very cool-looking.
And the little girl actually wrote in 1860, to Abe Lincoln.
“I have yet got four brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you. You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”
Come to think of it, I received similar advice, about growing a beard and wearing some Ray-Bans, I think from a former roommate, who also recommended a haircut and dim lighting, and all that was just to get a date, not the Presidency.
Lincoln, by then fully-bearded, made a point of meeting Grace, on his way to the inauguration. It was February, temperature was just above freezing, so he was probably glad of the beard, and anything else to cut the wind off Lake Erie. His train stopped in Westfield, and he sat down on the edge of the railway platform, chatted a few minutes, gave her a kiss, and continued down the tracks to Buffalo, Albany, and eventually, Washington, D.C.
It’s a charming story, but as happens so often, one with a sad ending, as Grace eventually moved, and lived many years in Kansas.
It’s hard to imagine him without the beard, isn’t it. We’d have a time changing all those statues, pennies, and postage stamps.
So anyway, as regular readers are aware, I don’t go off on tangents anymore, and to return to the central point of this post, I was thinking about a line from the Beatle’s “Come Together”
Got to be good-lookin’ ’cause he’s so hard to see
Even if you’re a song-writer, and taking a lot of hallucinogens, I think we all know that’s just not so. It just doesn’t always work that way.
Under all those vines, that is one homely automobile. I never knew Chevrolet made anything half that snub-nosed ugly.
I saw it last week, while driving to a park with my parents. I guessed it was maybe a 1957 model, since that’s when my dad was born, and when they were standing side-by-side, they had a very similar state of decrepitude. But he believes it was 1950 or even earlier.
I’ve tried to avoid that stretch of 14A, until the vines have leafed out, and covered this thing better.
But you know, I’ve been by it a few times since then, and that truck is starting to be like the hideous old bulldog that lives next-door – – without any conscious thought, or effort, you develop a feeling of affection, over time.
It just grows on you.
The bulldog snuffles and gasps and rattles, sounds like a dishwasher on its last legs, but he’s a very sweet-natured old boy, I’m always glad when he waddles up to say hello, and I swear this truck is growing on me too! I’ll look forward to seeing it’s Green Man look in a couple weeks.
So, let’s not call it weedy and overgrown, we’ll say, “a luxuriant growth of native grapevine.” And to hell with the haircut, too.