The first time I ever noticed my husband was when we were in high school. He was wearing a faded pair of jeans and a torn sweatshirt with the arms cut out. Also, he had hair. A LOT of hair. Long, beautiful hair. Shining! Gleaming! Streaming! Flaxen! Waxen!
Not only did he have head hair, he also had facial hair. Sideburns. Mustache. Beard. The whole nine yards. The facial hair thing was particularly intriguing to me because, frankly, I had grown up in the company of men who were beardless wonders. Baby-faced, as it were.
I remember the summer my dad tried to grow a mustache. He gave it his best shot, but week after week, the tiny mustache remained barely visible. It looked as if he’d drawn a tired little line over his upper lip with a Sharpie that had run out of ink. It was almost as if you could hear that tiny mustache say in its squeaky tiny mustache voice, “Please! Just put me out of my misery and shave me off already!”
Which my father did, eventually. Or so he said. It was pretty hard to tell.
So yes. I definitely noticed my future husband’s beardage. It made him seem attractively dangerous somehow. Like he was the kind of guy who could say, “You don’t want to get mixed up with a guy like me. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.”
Not that my name was Dottie.
Or that his name was Pee-wee Herman.
But whatever. The fact is I was smitten.
Anyway. We — my husband, his facial hair and I — eventually got married. We had five sons together and now we have two granddaughters, one of whom we took to the sing-along version of “Frozen” last weekend.
“Wait,” my husband said when I first told him what we were going to do. “I have to go to a karaoke movie?”
“Yes,” I said. “We have little girls in our lives now, and this is what people with little girls in their lives do.”
So we picked up our granddaughter and joined a hundred other little girls at the movie theater, who were eager to sing show tunes at the top of their lungs.
My husband looked uncomfortable at first, as though he were thinking, how did I wind up in this Sing-Along Hell? But as the movie progressed, he relaxed. And before long he was holding our granddaughter on his lap, channeling his inner Disney princess and crooning along with the best of them.
Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back anymore!
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door. …
I looked at him there in the theater. The faded jeans and ripped-up sweatshirt are long gone. The mustache and beard are still there, but they’re white now, and (frankly) it would be hard to imagine him defiantly shouting that he’s a loner and a rebel. Rather, I can imagine him shouting, “Why doesn’t Salt Lake City do a better job of coordinating the street lights?” or “Why oh why am I a Cubs fan?” or possibly, “What did I do with my reading glasses?”
But I’ll tell you what. To me, he’s never looked better.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Ken Cannon.
Ann Cannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/anncannontrib.