Friday, November 21, 2008

The Irish Knife

Wild Plants and Wooly Bears

I feel naked without a jackknife in my pocket. A small, folding blade comes in handy for countless chores and it’s really hard to comprehend life without such a useful, even indispensable tool.

A thin blade and flat body suit me best. Bulky knives wear out pants pockets far too soon. Oddly enough, the thinner, flatter knives are a bit more expensive than larger types. So when, many years ago I saw a bucket of $4 knives on the counter at a local hardware store, it seemed like a waste of money. But upon closer examination, the knives, made in Ireland, appeared fairly well made and certainly worth the slight asking price. So I bought one, simply as a spare should I ever misplace my more expensive, everyday knife.

Soon after this, my favorite knife turned up missing. So I went to a drawer and found my Irish-made knife. It has relatively soft steel, so it doesn’t stay sharp for long. On the other hand, it takes an edge rather quickly. So I got by, at least until I felt comfortable in forking over what I considered a grand amount for a “good” knife.

As unbelievable as this sounds, I quickly lost the Irish-made knife. No problem, though, because I had my new knife. But that quickly vanished and before I had time to go out and buy a new knife, I located my Irish knife. It was some time before I bought another knife but eventually, I did. And even more unbelievably, I once again lost my new knife. So it was back to the old, Irish knife. At this point, I decided not to shell out any more money on knives, not as long as I had the Irish knife.

Two days ago, I lost my Irish knife and despite a diligent and prolonged search, decided that it was gone forever. I began planning where to shop for a new knife. But in bending over to pick up a bit of paper from the floor, I spotted a familiar object protruding from some folds in the upholstery of an easy chair. Yes, it was the Irish knife.

The grooves on the Irish handle are worn smooth, the end of the large blade has become rounded from using the thing as a Phillips screwdriver and in general, the old knife has seen better days. But I have no intention of ever parting with it, not willingly anyway. I figure that anything that keeps popping back up after being lost that many times deserves to stay in my pocket, at least until it finally disappears for good, of its own free will and accord.

1 comment:

  1. I remember, with slight envy, the rite of passage for my brothers when they received their first pocket knife. My father explained the proper use and care of such an important tool and told them they should always keep it with them. I wonder if they still carry one with them. I know that my husband does and he too feels naked and lost without his "Old Timer" in his pocket.