This morning, after my jog, when I stopped at the dairy store to collect milk packets, I was in for a surprise. The man at the counter was a new face. Though I was seeing him for the first time, the bearded gentleman’s smile and expressions conveyed otherwise.
When I reached the counter to pay for my purchase, the gentleman said ‘Sir, you and Abraham Lincoln are the inspiration for this beard. Dayal ( the usual shopkeeper) wanted me to grow a beard like you, and for the past three months, I haven’t used the blade.’ I didn’t know what to say so, just smiled back and left. On my way back Abraham Lincoln’s name had got me hooked.
Maybe it had something to do with the similarity in their facial features, but curiosity took the better of me, and I was on Google in no time. And I must admit, that got me to read a very sweet anecdote from Lincoln’s life chapter.
Abraham Lincoln’s beard might be an inseparable part of man’s memory today, but apparently, Lincoln was a clean-shaven man all his life and started to grow his beard only towards the end of 1860 at the behest of an 11-year-old Grace Bedell who wanted him to grow a beard for the presidential election.
Bedell’s letter, dated 15th October 1960, in fact, reads as if the girl had a Plan of Action ready to get the Republican nominee win the election.
“I have yet got four brothers, and part of them will vote for you anyway, and if you let your whiskers grow, I will try and get the rest of them to vote, For 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,” reads the letter, in part.
Lincoln replied with his typical self-deprecating joke without a definitive Yes or No - “As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now?”
But when Abraham Lincoln left Springfield on February 11th, 1861, bound for the White House, the President-elect was fully bearded. Incidentally, he also arranged to meet his young pen friend on the way and told her, ‘Gracie, look at my whiskers. I have been growing them for you.’
Indeed an interesting anecdote and I got to thank Dayal and his father tomorrow. Wondering if they know about this story? Time for a lively beard chit-chat tomorrow then!
Thanks to that little wonder, who made the man even greater than his beard. Kudos!
Image courtesy rogerjnorton.com