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Whiskers

Both my grandfathers were pastors and then superintendents in the FM church, and when I first read “there were giants in the land in those days,” I thought of my two grandfathers, who occupied gigantic space in my young mind.
These men were both very conservative in their views.
1. Whisker power
After Grandmother died, Grandpa Parks lived in the little house behind us for many years. Sometime in the 1960s he showed me how a few people in different generations used hair to measure spirituality.
Some Christian men were pushing back against the Beatles’ hair over the ears and Elvis’ sideburns and were telling me that shaving high above the ears and on the back of the neck made them look “more Christian.”
Way in the back of my mind, I must have assumed that among my ancestors those who lived closest to God tended in this direction of “less hair = deeper spirituality.”
Grandfather was describing his Christian upbringing and showing me portraits of his father and grandfather. I noticed that beards covered the first few buttons on their shirts, so I pointed out the obvious.
“Our ancestors seem to have full beards.”
“Oh yes,” he chuckled. “They thought their whiskers gave them power with God.”
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