That Old Yellow Case Trapper
by, 09-18-2011 at 10:25 AM (12524 Views)
Growing up my dad always had a love for knives. Him and my Grandfather always had an old yellow case trapper in their pocket. By the age of 5 they had whittled, made me rubber band guns and slingshots. Much to my moms chagrin, I received my 1st case trapper when I was 6 years old. It went everywhere with me. I cut, whittled, stabbed, dug and did probably everything in the world that you should not do with a knife.
I still remember my first fixed blade. Mr. Tucker who lived 2 doors down from my grandfather saw me cutting, whittling and just pain abusing that old trapper and told me to come over to his backyard. We sat down and ate watermelon. First time I had ever seen someone put salt on watermelon. It was good stuff.
He took me into his little shed and grabbed an old rusty shovel. He cut a chunk out of it and put it on the grinder. After lots of sparks, cussing and cutting up an old tabletop I had my first fixed blade. To this day I don't know where it went or the trapper for that matter but like so many things in life they go away. I sure loved those knives though.
Years have passed and many a knife has come and gone. My grandfather passed in 97 and we made sure that he was buried with that old trapper in his pocket. Don't really remember when Mr. Tucker died but I have never forgotten that watermelon or that knife.
Some years ago both of my parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
I tried as long as I could to keep them in their home but eventually the time came to put them in a facility. As with most things these days it didn't take but 2 years to go through their life savings and they had to be moved to residential care to be able to afford their care.
Going through their things I found 2 old yellow case trappers. The facility would not let dad have his beloved knife so I did the unthinkable. I snapped off the point and rounded it. Then I ground the edge down to the sharpness of a butter knife. Not really sure what I did with his other one.
That vacant stare lit up like a kids face at Christmas when I handed him his old yellow trapper. As with most things with Alzheimer's patients he lost it somewhere along the way and luckily he forgot he ever had it. Sometimes this disease is a blessing in disguise.
Friday I got home from work and was going through some stuff and what did I find in the dark recesses of the drawer but the other trapper. It's beat up and battered and shows the history of everything he ever cut with it. It's stained and dull and saw too many projects after he lost the sharp mind he had for most his life.
That same day I received a phone call from the facility that dad had choked on some food and his heart had stopped. The ambulance showed up and after quite some time, they were able to get a pulse.
They had to put him on a ventilator and cool his body down to 33 degrees to prevent the death of brain cells and to keep his brain from swelling. The only thing that is working on its own his his heart.
I spent most of the night at the hospital looking at someone who I had a lot of problems with over the years. He drank too much, traveled all the time but was the best father he knew how to be..which wasn't the greatest in my books. But, time heals all things.
Saturday I get home and a package arrives. A brand spanking new knife from Dylan Fletcher. As happy as I was it was bitter sweet. I do know that this bush operator will probably be a very special knife that will be cherished forever. I look at it sitting next to the old trapper and I see a lifetime of memories culminating into a journey that started with that old yellow case trapper and possibly ending with the Fletcher.
Today they will get dad warmed back up and do tests to see what, if any brain functions are left. I am either going to be faced with making the worst decision a child has to make or the results will prove that their is no choice to be made.
Beyond all the hard times me and dad have had over the years. He was the best father he knew how to be. He loved me in his own way and shared with me one of his greatest loves which was his knives. Sometimes it takes situations like this to realize the true gifts you have been given.
My mom told me years ago that we are once an adult, but twice a child. It never made sense to me until they came down with this horrible disease. Luckily, my mom is so advanced in the disease that she does not know what has happened to dad. A gift and a curse all rolled together.
So, I don't even know why the hell I am writing all of this. This morning I am just flooded with thoughts and emotions and they had to go someplace so here they are.