Houlton — In Aroostook County, tradition runs deep, and family heirlooms have a special significance extending beyond the importance normally ascribed to such items.
Kevin Jay, 38, has had a chinstrap beard since he was 16, as did his father, and his father’s father before him.
“Far back as I can recall, we had this chinstrap beard,” he said. That’s what makes today so special for the Jay family.
“My son Kaydin just turned 16, and I’m passing this along to him.”
People of Maine are known for their deep connection to land and tradition, and this proud passing of the beard is something that happens all over the state, every day. But it’s not the only coming-of-age tradition between a father and son.
“When he was 4 I taught him to curl the bill on his hat,” the elder Jay said. The time-honored method involves rolling the bill enough to fit it through the snapback hole.
“If you really want it to roll you have to toss it in the dishwasher and then let it dry for 24 hours,” he said with a smile.
Other Maine traditions include teaching young men how to sharpen a saw, how to get a four-wheeler uncuckered, and which rubber boots to wear to prom.