Wiregrass Seniors Magazine February 2019 FEBRUARY ISSUE - Page 13

WiregrassSeniorsMagazine.com Page 13 The Kind Of Men Who Carry Pocket Knives Less than 40 years have passed and I am aston- ished to see how the times have changed since my father bought this knife for me as just a small boy. I do still have it, which by today’s standards is an anomaly. I’ll leave the discussion of our throwaway knife was an essential tool for daily life. The men who carry pocket knives are hardworking, do it culture for another time. yourselfers, who were raised to rely on themselves Yes, this pocket knife has witnessed many changes in nearly every situation. I have seen a pocket knife in our society. Technology, communication, trans- start a tractor, remove a splinter, slice a watermelon, portation, and even education have dramatically carve a toy, and open a can. They have been used changed from the way it was just a generation ago. to clean wild game, cut gum/tar out of hair, sharpen My pocket knife and I are neither quite certain if all a pencil, cutting fishing bait, and teaching responsi- the changes have been for the good. When I look bility. The list goes on and on. The uses of the pocket across the landscape of America and take note of knife are as varied and strong as the men who use the differences, the greatest change that I see is in them. the people themselves. I adopted this tool at a very early age as one that Growing up in rural Northeast Alabama in the foot- would always be at my side. A pocket knife has al- hills of the Appalachians, I was privileged to catch ways been a part of who I am. So much so that I the tale end of what was an era marked by rugged- was almost offended when I would encounter a grown ness and self-sufficiency. I grew up around men that man who didn’t have one in his own pocket. I took it were willing to fix what was broken and take the upon myself in my 20’s to start gifting knives. Some- time to do it right. My father was a Vietnam veteran times to random strangers, sometimes to close and the product of growing up farming the hills of friends. The conversation would generally start by these same mountains where I was raised. He al- asking if I could borrow someone’s knife, knowing ways carried a small pocket knife much like the one full well that I had 2 in my own pocket. If the answer pictured. He had an affinity for Case knives, but would was a proud “why sure”, then I would gladly take the carry the occasional “Old timer” or “Buck” or even knife and inspect it for its level of wear as an indica- “Schrade”. One thing was for sure, that he had one tor of how much work it had actually seen. Often with him, wherever he was. You could also be pretty paying a simple compliment as I return the knife. If sure that his pocket knife would be so sharp that if the answer was that they didn’t have a knife to let you were to stare at it too long your eyeballs would me borrow, I would quickly reach into my pocket bleed. Now that's pretty sharp.... The pocket and deliver one to their hand along with a reference knife was an important part of his life. Whether it to the fact that every man should carry a knife. To was to slice a freshly picked apple, or to cut some date, I have given out somewhere north of 300 knives. twine, (coincidentally twine can patch most any bro- ken farm implement until you can get home) he was So, who are the kind of men who carry pocket knives always prepared. At Christmas time, my father al- today? They are typically utilitarian. They are the ways had his knife waiting to help open those pesky type of men who earn an honest living, work hard, gifts that needed cutting open as only a father can and stand fearless in a world gone mad. To put it simply, they are the type of men that I feel this world do best. needs more of. My father was not the only man in my young life that I watched wield his trusty 3 bladed pocket knife as If you find yourself in a tight spot and need some if it was a surgeon's scalpel. My uncles, my friend’s help, just ask the guy with the pocket knife. Although dads, my bosses, they all carried pocket knives. I they are few are far between these days, chances watched. I learned. I saw a resourcefulness in the are he can and will be able to lend a hand. these men, that is seldom seen today. For my father and so many others of a generation gone by, a pocket I carry, do you? JEJ https://thenaturalsouth.blogspot.com