Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Pocketknives: Ryan from A Gentleman's Journal

As an addendum to my original post on pocketknives, I've asked some others to share their own knives and the stories behind them.

First up is Ryan, who lives in Tennessee and writes the blog A Gentleman's Journal. If you haven't read A Gentleman's Journal already, be sure to take some time to peruse it. Ryan is a great writer and has some great thoughts on Southern society and, of course, being a gentleman.

Like Trip, I didn't grow up carrying a pocket knife. Which is odd since as long as I can remember, my dad and my grandfathers have never been without one: pocket knife, and handkerchief, always. I have since come around to both. My pocket knife was given to me in the fall of 2003, by my offensive line coach, Kip Cloninger. We were having a team meal at a steak house, the day before our senior homecoming game. Coach stood up and announced "Seniors, listen to me. The rest of y'all just shut up and eat. Y'all are men, and men ought to always have a knife. You can never know when you'll need it." He gave us each these black S&W Cuttin' Horse locking blades which all of us, in simpler times, carried everywhere for the rest of the year. Including school.

That knife has seen its more pristine days. Wherever it is now (much to my lament, I can't find it right now) it has a broken tip, little to no enamel left on the blade, the belt clip broke off so long ago that I can barely remember it ever having one, and the swing button fell off who knows when. But, as with books, I find that to be evidence of love. And love that knife I have, very nearly to death.

That knife has cut rope, dressed a rabbit, opened many a box, peeled apples, whittled (it's still whittling if you just shave a stick, right?), cut the foil off a few bottles of wine, spilled my poor thumb's blood, and loosened a few screws in its day. I have used it for everything. Maybe its disappearance is akin to a dog going off to die. Maybe I had utterly used it up, and it couldn't bear the thought of just falling apart in front of my eyes, so it just r-u-n-n-o-f-t, never to be seen again. Wherever it is, I hope it knows it's loved and missed.

Not to be without a knife, I asked my dad if he had an extra. He looked around for a bit and produced three options: a huge walnut handled hawk-bill (which, aside from its inherent bad-assery, is not very practical), a more traditional three-bladed wood-scaled Craftsman that he found while flipping a house, and his silver Kamp King from the 60's. I didn't want to go to prison for having a scimitar in my pocket or risk losing my dad's boyhood knife, so I chose the Craftsman. And we're getting along just fine so far.

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