A few weeks ago I sat down with Craig and Cindy LaBrie to talk about what was then the upcoming Francois Haunted Hotel dates. I am constantly impressed with the investment the LaBries and the rest of the Celebrate Redwood Falls board and its volunteers put into the events that are held in our community.

However, one can quickly gather that Halloween is Craig’s favorite.

As they showed me some of the behind-the-scenes areas of the hotel I admit I got caught up in the excitement.

Then I said it.

“I think I’ll come back and take the tour.”

At that point I meant it, and even though I am one who has zero interest in anything that is at all scary, I was pretty sure in my heart that I would return.

I didn’t.

Whether it was out of courtesy, or perhaps it was a bit of sympathy on their part, I left that day with a sticker they hand out to the little kids (the ones under the age of 13) who attend the “no-scare” and “low-scare” tours held during Monsters on Main.

Maybe they were offering some kind of encouragement – you know the kind you use to coax a three-year-old into doing something they have never done.

Either way the “I Survived!” sticker now sits on my desk ridiculing me and my lack of manliness, because I talked a big game but did not live up to it. I think deep down I knew I would never really get there simply because I am what the kids would call a “fraidy cat.”

When I was a kid I used to watch a lot of “Scooby Doo” cartoons and always thought it was so funny how Shaggy and Scooby would be so afraid of what was unknown to them. I think in a lot of ways I am like them.

Have you ever noticed the depiction of Shaggy? He has just a few facial hairs on his face. I don’t recall him ever donning a full beard, which we all know is the true sign of being a man. (I know Fred doesn’t have a beard either, but that is an entirely different story. After all, he wears an ascot for corn’s sake.)

As the philosopher Phil Robertson said, there are two kinds of people who can’t grow beards – women and children.

Anyway, in more recent days of watching old – and new – “Scobby Doo” cartoons I also noticed that in many of the episodes the masked monsters – Miner Forty-Niner and Redbeard, for example, have full beards. I am also certain the Headless Specter would have one if he had a head.

So, here I am donning a full beard and wondering to myself “do I deserve to be in the same category of other ‘real men’ I am certain would never back down from a fright?”

Perhaps I have to hand in my man card altogether.

At least I should give back my sticker.

In times when I have gotten the full facial hair caught in my zipper I wonder aloud if I should cut it off or at least cut it back just a little. Then I remember how great it is when I find something in there from the previous night’s supper and think to myself “how lucky is that?”

So, for at least the next few years the beard will stay, I guess I am going to just have to work a little harder on being a man.

Anyway, I don’t think I should cut it merely for the sake of my Martha and Gideon. Neither one of them has grown into their beards yet, and I would not want to scare them.