GINGER: The family that stays together has stray hairs together

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While grazing around the food table at my cousin’s baby shower, my aunts began to discuss their facial hair.
“Do you have it yet?” one aunt 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.
Driving home from the shower, I reminisced about Grandma Boswell. She was a dear lady, but I had to admit I was glad that I had not inherited that particular genetic trait.
One week later I awoke from a deep slumber and groggily stumbled to the bathroom, tripping 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 fifteen minutes.
Sometimes, while driving down the road, I catch a glimpse of it in the rearview 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 at night and wrapping itself around my neck. 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.
Just for fun I have named Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel.
I have hairs that only grow at particular times like: PMS Hair, Lack of Sleep Hair, Pregnant Hair, and On My Way to a Special Event Hair.
I have Lucky Hair that I let grow whenever I’m going to play the lottery or my teenaged daughter is driving the car.
I also have Luke-Warm Christian Hair because it generally only shows up every other Sunday morning, and Embarrassing Hair because it is only noticeable when I’m trying to make a good impression.
I’ve been with hubby for so long that I figure I probably inherited a few hairs from his side of the family too.
They include Truitt Hair, Hollingsworth Hair, and Cuckoo Hair.
Along that vein, I also have In-law Hair, because it shows up unannounced whenever the house is a wreck.
But even though each and every one is special in its own way, nothing compares to the Boswell hair. It is the tie that binds our family together. Literally.

Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Her award-winning column appears weekly in Kentucky and Indiana newspapers. Contact her at ginger@gingertruitt. com.