The year 2012 went down in history as a first for me — specifically, it was the first time I made a New Year’s Resolution and saw it through to the end of the year.
Most years, 2013 included, I don’t bother to set a resolution as I know I won’t live up to it. But 2012 was different.
Inspired by the formation of the local beard club, the Bellefontaine Body Bearders, I chose to grow out my beard and vowed not to shave it for an entire year.
And I can say I lived up to that resolution, at least in spirit.
Although there were times I grew weary of my scarlet and gray-streaked beard and considered shaving entirely, I resisted the temptation to do so. I must admit, however, that I shaved some.
Take St. Patrick’s Day, for instance. I shaved off my mustache, leaving only a chin beard and went to a beard club event (outdoors even on an unseasonably warm March day) as an oversized leprechaun.
And on Halloween weekend, I carved into the beard again, leaving what can only be described as a Fu Manchu partial beard to accommodate my costume as 1970s detective Cochese from the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage video.
Throughout the process, I learned a variety of new tricks, such as creative ways to eat food and drink beverages so as to avoid having it all end up dripping from my mustache and new ways to sleep so as to avoid waking up with a drool-soaked beard.
But regardless, the beard has remained, as has the local beard club.
What started just over a year ago with about seven members has grown to dozens of active members and countless supporters.
Many members now sport gnarly bushy beards, and our local club and its individual members have won numerous awards, including best booth at the Logan County Fair and even more notably, the best beard club in Ohio and surrounding states.
But one of the high water marks for the club in the past year was a local contest that generated more than $1,000 each for the Logan County Youth Miracle League and the Holland Theatre restoration project.
To see some of the region’s most recognized beard contestants side-by-side with some of Logan County’s best facial hair was impressive — not to mention the event was inside the historic Holland Theatre.
The plan is to have another local event on Nov. 6 of this year and, hopefully, provide an equal amount of support for our two charities.
We also have several regional contests scheduled, but my personal goal this year is to make it to the national competition in New Orleans in early September.
After spending nearly five years in southern Mississippi, I miss having a mere two-hour drive to get to the Big Easy — home of jazz, some of the best food in the nation and heart-wrenching memories I shared with southerners in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
I never really wore a beard in my time in the south, although I did have a mustache for a few months; so, I will be looking at the city from a new perspective.
I guess if I were to say I have a resolution this year, that would be it — to continue to grow my beard, to see my friends in Hattiesburg, Miss., to again experience the melodic peculiarities of the Crescent City and to create new memories.
Hopefully, come next year at this time, I can say I accomplished those goals.
Reuben Mees is a Bellefontaine Examiner staff writer and official Bellefontaine Body Bearders member. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.