Lebanon Reporter

Columns

March 26, 2014

The Boswell hair: A family tradition

While grazing around the food table at my cousin’s baby shower, the aunts began to discuss their facial hair.“Do you have it yet?” one directed at me.“I pluck every morning,” I replied.“But do you have the Boswell hair?” she clarified.“Your mom had it,” another aunt supplied.

Apparently, my great-grandmother Boswell had a stray hair that grew at an astonishing rate from a very specific spot on her chin. Her mother also had it, and her mother before her. All of the aunts could point to the exact spot on their own chins, some still red from recent plucking.

One week later, I awoke from a deep slumber. Stumbling groggily into the bathroom, I tripped over a chin hair that had been barely noticeable when I went to bed.

Hubby, hearing the clatter, peered from the shower and exclaimed, “Land sakes, woman! Where did that thing come from?!”I reached up and felt a coarse thread hanging from a very specific spot on my chin. “It’s the Boswell hair,” I informed him. “It’s been in my family for generations.”“Your family is just full of surprises,” he mused. “Do you think you can pluck it with regular tweezers or should I get the pruning shears?”“Very funny,” I replied as I tossed the hair over my shoulder to keep it from dragging in the sink while I brushed my teeth.“Make sure you throw it in the trash after you pluck it,” hubby instructed. “I don’t want it clogging the drain.”It took some effort, but by wrapping both hands around the tweezers and exerting my full strength, I was able to extract the Boswell hair from my face.

The next day it was back.

It seems to grow at a rate of about half an inch every 15 minutes. Sometimes, while driving down the road, I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, flapping alongside my minivan. I have started carrying tweezers for emergency Boswell hair situations, and all of my girlfriends know they are to inform me the minute they see it emerging.I asked my dad about mom’s Boswell hair and he got all teary-eyed. “I miss your mom. I even miss that hair growing out of her chin and wrapping itself around my neck at night. During the lean years, the hair kept us warm.”Out of convenience. I’ve decided to name all of the hairs on my face. That way when we’re out in public, and hubby notices a stray, he can simply call it by name so I’ll know where to pluck.

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