Saturday, February 9, 2019

Ode to a pocketknife

This is a tale from a Country long ago:
Growing up in rural Northeast Alabama in the foothills of the Appalachians, I was privileged to catch the tale end of what was an era marked by ruggedness and self-sufficiency. I grew up around men that were willing to fix what was broken and take the time to do it right. My father was a Vietnam veteran and the product of growing up farming the hills of these same mountains where I was raised. He always carried a small pocket knife much like the one pictured. He had an affinity for Case knives, but would carry the occasional “Old timer” or “Buck” or even “Schrade”. One thing was for sure, that he had one with him, wherever he was. You could also be pretty sure that his pocket knife would be so sharp that if you were to stare at it too long your eyeballs would bleed. Now that's pretty sharp.... The pocket knife was an important part of his life. Whether it was to slice a freshly picked apple, or to cut some twine, (coincidentally twine can patch most any broken farm implement until you can get home) he was always prepared. At Christmas time, my father always had his knife waiting to help open those pesky gifts that needed cutting open as only a father can do best.
I too got my first pocketknife from Dad, back around 1970.  I have a new Benchmade one that the Queen Of The World got for me that I keep clipped in my pocket.  It feels weird if it's not there.

And the love affair that men have with their pocket knives goes back a long, long way.


SiGraybeard said...

There are five within easy reach of my left hand - one per finger. Cold Steel (two), Spyderco, S&W and SOG. I couldn't begin to tell you how many more are just out of easy reach. One is always in my pocket.

One of the Cold Steel knives is called my "light saber" and is used for cutting anything softer than aluminum down to size.

So, yeah, I get it.

BTW, You could also be pretty sure that his pocket knife would be so sharp that if you were to stare at it too long your eyeballs would bleed. is one of the most fantastic sentences I've ever read.

LindaG said...

Hubby got me into carrying them. Useful for so many things.

Differ said...

I recently made a new sheath for my Dad's old small fixed-blade would be totallby banned if I still lived in UK.

Bob H said...

In late fall 1990 as I headed off to Desert Shield my Dad handed me a new Old Timer saying I might need a good pocket knife for "something". I replaced the one I had in my pocket and it's been there ever since except for airports and courthouses. As I returned my forgotten knife to my pickup last time at the courthouse in Boise I told the guard the next thing would be concealed permits for knives. Like the UK, first they will take our guns and then our pocket knives.

waepnedmann said...

I feel nekked without a knife.
it is a horrible affliction.
Usually carry two so that one is readily accessible with either hand..
I did kill on a bucket list item for Christmas from my understanding father: a Bark,River Knife and Tool Grizzly which would give you at least a chance in hell against one of Tam's short-faced cave bears or against the lion the took Selous off his horse while patrolling the first game park in Africa. Last I knew said beastie's hide is on display in the lodge at the park. Unfortunately Selous' s knife was not proof against a German sniper in a later action.

waepnedmann said...

While engaged in the War of Northern Aggression, General Nathan Bedford Forrest got into an altercation with another officer on his staff. The incident escaped and the other officer busted a cap or two,on Forrest. Forrest managed to get out his pocket knife and scrambled brother officer's giblets before being rendered hors de combat from the gunshot wound.
I mostly cut twine and open boxes with my pocket knife, but "Everything is a weapon, depending on how you hold it."-Tam©

David said...

My father gave me a pretty innocuous Buck three blade knife when I turned 16. He said every gentleman should carry a sharp knife. I replaced my boy scout knife with that Buck and carried it every day for 39 years. I gave it to my son at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor. He went home, put his scout knife in his drawer and started carrying that old Buck knife.

BTW, I was at a high school volleyball game several years ago. One of the players who was warming up pointed at the floor and said "ewww, there's gum stuck here." I walked over, pulled out the knife, scrapped the gum up, and deposited it in the trash can. As I turned around the school principal was standing there looking very angry and demanded "You brought a weapon into our school?" I told her "No, I brought a folding cutting or scrapping tool that I just used to clean gum off the floor into your school. Which if you did a better job of training your students not to spit their gum out on the floor, I wouldn't need it here." and walked away. She let me go...

Will said...

I like RobertaX's comment on knives: "A human without a knife is just a chimpanzee with a bad haircut"

I normally have ~5 blades of various sizes on me.

Jim said...

I view a pocket knife as an article of clothing and feel naked whenever I have to fly.

Ken said...

I have a small Case folder that I carry, standing in for my dad's old folder that lives on my dresser now (end rivet is loose and I don't want to lose a bolster before I fix it or find someone to fix it). "Knifeless man is lifeless man," as they as are in the Faroes say.

pigpen51 said...

Like Will said, I normally have a fair number of knives on my person at any one time. Right now, I only have 3, with one clipped to each pocket, that will open with a quick flick on the backside of the knife, to make it useful for fighting, if the need should arise. I also have a smaller knife in my left hand front pocket, that I try and keep super sharp, for times when you just have to have a razor sharp edge, and your bigger knives are not still there. Oh, and I have a Leatherman tool with a knife in it, as well.
I have been carrying a pocket knife, first a simple 2 blade jack knife, then a locking blade, since I was about 9 years old or so, which would be back in 1969. I never was without a knife, though my school years, and certainly through my working days.
My son just gave me a custom Damascus steel lock back knife, but I have not started to carry it yet. It is a beautiful knife, but the blade is a short and wide type, which I have never gotten used to, but I think that I might start to carry it in the spring when I change my EDC gear. My gun and it's spare mag and assorted items on my belt will need to be reorganized to work with everything that I carry.
Of course, now days, I would be kicked out of school and arrested for carrying my Schrade Old Timer or my Buck knife to school. Not because I would pose a threat, but because someone would possibly piss their pants if they saw it. Strange world we live in now, isn't it?