Late last night while I was floating around on my Ipad apps, I noticed on my home screen that it was already the 1st of August. I was aware the 1st was approaching, but I haven’t stopped long enough to let my brain think on dreaded thoughts. Unfortunately, when I saw the 1 on my calendar app, my brain went to emotional places and there was no stopping it.
August 1st is/was my Dad’s birthday.
And, unless you know me well, you can’t possibly understand how anything “Dad” affects me. I was a Daddy’s girl in the truest sense of the words. I still am… and he’s been gone for almost 19 years.
I can usually get past Dad’s birthday without an emotional event. We’re not one of those families that throws a big hoorah on birthdays. Dad’s birthday is not usually my struggle. Father’s Day and the first day of deer season are usually when I have my meltdowns. Anyway…
I hope you’re still with me here. I don’t plan for this to be a depressing, whiny post about how much I miss my Dad.
Who wants to read that stuff?
So, I got up and went to bed, but all my emotional energy seemed to land on my dad’s pocket knife stashed away across the room in my jewelry box. That’s when the idea for this post was born.
This was the knife my dad carried in his pocket throughout my entire childhood. He didn’t purchase a new knife until after I was married. This is the ONLY knife I remember him carrying.
I remember Dad gave this knife to either Michael or I during his last days, but I don’t remember which. He either gave it to Michael to use or for me to give to Clay one day. I wish I could remember which, but I think it was the latter.
When you open the knife, there is still lint from Dad’s pockets under the blades. I can remember clearly the motion that Dad used to open this knife. He would pull the large blade out about a half inch and then sort of sling it open in one quick motion. I can see it in my mind…plain as day. I can remember the way he held the knife in his hands. My Dad used this knife like an extension of his hand. He used it hard, but took great care of it at the same time. He sharpened it regularly. He never handed it to me without warning me to be careful because it was sharp. Without a doubt, I can say he pulled this knife out of his pocket several times a day. Using this knife was like second nature to him.
I’m about to list all the ways I’ve seen my dad use this knife, but don’t be tempted to think this is a post about all the ways to use a pocket knife. This post is about memories. Everything I’m about to tell you has a very distinct, precious memory.
My Dad used this knife to….
* trim horse’s tails that got too long.
* pick rocks out of horse’s hooves.
* peel potatoes.
* cut fishing line. (hundreds of times)
* gently remove splinters from my fingers or bare feet.
* cut the twine that he used to make straight rows in the garden.
* quarter green apples for the horses and cows to eat.
* stab holes in the lid of a pickle jar so my lightning bugs could breathe.
* chip the crud off the deck of his lawn mower.
* cut down and dig up weeds.
* cut seed potatoes for planting.
* clean squirrels.
* butcher hogs.
* harvest okra.
* slice watermelons.
* work on his chainsaw.
*cut up bait.
*sharpen long sticks so we could roast hot dogs over a burning brush pile.
*scrape gunk off his boots.
* slice cheese.
*sharpen my pencils.
Dad carried this knife for years before he carved his initials on both sides. I don’t know why he did that…losing his knife wasn’t even possible. I don’t remember him ever misplacing it.
See the indentions on the shiny metal part of the knife? I was standing near him when he did that. The knife was closed and he was using it to beat the devil out of something metal. I remember him looking at the knife after using it as a hammer and being surprised that it dented.
I hope I haven’t bored you to death. Trying to explain the feelings you feel is a tough thing to do. It’s easy to explain when talking to someone, but when it’s typed out, it loses some of the emotion. You know what I’m saying?
I just needed to say this stuff and put it down.
One of these days, I will give this knife to one of my boys. They can’t possibly understand what this knife means to me. To everyone but me, it’s just an old knife, and truly that’s what it is, but to me it represents hundreds of memories that are beyond precious.
Well…that’s all I’ve got for now. Oh wait…one more thing….
Happy Birthday Dad. I miss you like crazy.