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That Old Yellow Case Trapper

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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.

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  1. Liveitloud's Avatar
    Yesterday I went to see Dad and the doctor told me that they have done all the tests to check the activity in his brain and unfortunately there was little if any. He gave me my options and left the room for me to think about it. I looked down at this man who used to be tough as boot leather. He was in the Navy, got shot and received a purple heart for service to our country. He worked for general motors for 50 years. He rebuilt cars, hunted, fished and instilled a love and respect for knives and guns.

    When all this started and I needed funds for mom and dads care. GM was in financial trouble and dropped all the retirees benefits. So, I went to the VA. They said they showed no record of active duty even though I had every record possible proving he was an active serviceman in the field for years.

    I looked down at this person in the bed and what I saw was someone who was already gone and being kept alive by technology. I did the kindest thing I knew to do and had all life saving measures removed. The doctor said that most likely he would go quickly because his brain does not know to tell him to breath.

    As I sit here and write this he is still breathing and in typical dad fashion, even with the devastation to his brain he is still hanging on. They said it could be a day, a week or longer. Mom is so advanced in her bout with Alzheimer's that she doesn't even know what happened. I guess that that is a blessing.

    I sit here and think how he gave his life to Chevrolet and his service to Country and they turned their back on him without a thought. I am the only one he has and it saddens me beyond measure that the best thing I could do for him his help end his life.
  2. Liveitloud's Avatar
    He died last night at 7:00 PM. Peace be with you Dad.
  3. Trent Rock's Avatar
    My condolences Your dad sounds a lot like my dad. I found a bunch of his old knives in a drawer at my mom's house. That is how I started collecting knives again, in my later years.

    I love the Case XX yellow knives!!! Old skool!!!!
  4. Liveitloud's Avatar
    Thanks Trent I appreciate it. He truly did start my love of knives. Sadly in his later years he did things to knives that could be put in a thread called the seriously abused knife thread. When I cleaned out their house when they had to go to the facility some years back, I found bent tips, broken tip, casing split with wobbling blades and the list goes on and on. Most of them would have been considered by today's standard highly collectable. But even though his mind was gone his love for knives never was forgotten. At least I have the old trapper.
  5. stillsurfing05's Avatar
    My condolences also. I still have my Case yellow trapper from years past, alot of memories in that knife. ...
  6. jdracing's Avatar
    It's a story that brings tears to my eyes.
    I am so glad you have all those great memories as well.
    I sure did get alot from it...Time is so precious spent.
    You took care of your father till the very end.
    May the good Lord Bless you friend.
    JD
  7. Liveitloud's Avatar
    Still trying to sort through estate issues and fighting with insurance companies and the such. Finally had to have him cremated and pay for it out of pocket. He did not have anything but the insurance and they are dragging their feet in typical corporate fashion.

    Through all of this I have found some of the greatest kindness from total strangers. After the funeral director took a stab at the VA and got nowhere same as I did, she called me and asked me to come down. When I got there she handed me an American Flag and said "they might not recognize his sacrifice but I do and he deserves this." Really brought tears to my eyes.

    Sometime later I was contacted by a member of the board who had said he had read this blog and asked me if I would give him my contact info. I did and didn't think much about it again. The other day I received a package. I opened it up and what was in the envelope but a yellow case trapper and a very nice note.

    I can't tell you how special that was so I want to thank you burf151 for your kindness and generosity.



  8. Battle Creek Knives's Avatar
    I'm sorry for your loss.. It will be 5 yrs this Nov. 22 that I lost my dad.. Also worked for GM 27yrs, as with a lot of my family. Sad to hear how your father was abandoned by our country as well with GM..

    Take care,
    Rob