Nice article mentioning Old Timers

Feb 7, 2000
Here's a nice article that talks about an old man and his pocketknife. Kind of sad, actually. At any rate, the writer speaks warmly about the knife ...... but she does get her knife facts bungled pretty badly ("This isn’t just any knife. It’s an Oldtimer made by Case ... "). Anyway, thought y'all might enjoy the story.


Oldtimer just like Doc

The Tribune-Democrat

The father-in-law turns 98 this year.

He’s tough, having been raised on a farm and then working in a blacksmith shop for the Colver mines. But now he lives in a personal-care home where he has taken over the main sofa and assumed a key supervisory role.

That means he tells other residents to stay away from his sofa.

He has relatively few vices for a man who has almost outlasted a century. He likes his snuff (one roll a week) and his hard candy (two bags a week), unconcerned that these indulgences will shorten his life.

He dislikes being told what to do, as well as women who tell him what to do and anyone else who tries to tell him what to do.

Nonetheless, they’re stuck with him, and he’s stuck with them.

I’m the mediator.

But first, some background:

The father-in-law answers to the nickname “Red,” so chosen because when he was young his hair was red.

Now, it’s white.

He also answers to the nickname “Doc.”

That was chosen because of what happened when he was 6 years old and about to enter first grade, for which a vaccination was required.

Another little boy didn’t have a vaccination, so the father-in-law took off part of his scab and put it on the other boy’s arm. The scab stuck, and the friend was admitted into school. So was Doc.

From that day forward, that side of the family has called him Doc.

That’s what I call him, too, even though his given name is Sherman.

He lived with us after his wife died, so I am familiar with his likes and dislikes. Now, having been in the personal-care home for several years, they are, too.

State officials don’t always understand. That’s what happened with the knife.

“Someone took my knife,” he shouted as I walked in the door.

I knew we had a problem. This isn’t just any knife. It’s an Oldtimer made by Case (translation: W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co.), and they don’t make them like that anymore.

Doc uses his knife for everything from opening mail to cleaning his fingernails.

“Find out who took my knife,” he shouted.

An aide quickly intervened.

State inspectors were there, saw him using his pocket knife and issued an order: Get rid of it.

I tried to explain, while he chose not to listen. (He’s deaf anyway, but sometimes he’s more deaf.)

I bribed him with snuff and candy, stopped at the desk and took the knife.

At home, the husband listened, growled and walked away.

I took out the knife, holding it for a long time, seeing it really for the first time.

It’s a handsome knife, with a few portions of the bone handle worn smooth from decades of being rubbed by Doc’s thumb.

The Oldtimer truly is an oldtimer, just like Doc. But also like Doc, it’s a survivor of many Christmas ribbon cuttings, mail-opening mornings and anything else that Doc and a knife can do together.

Suddenly, I am sad.

“Now don’t go falling in love with that knife,” barks the husband, throwing it in his desk drawer. “He shouldn’t have it in a place like that anyway,” he said.

Doc knows that, too, because it’s only every other visit now that he shouts at me about his knife.

The message varies:

“Did you find out who took my knife?”

“When are you going to bring my knife?”

Because it’s Doc, and I love him, and he doesn’t like being told what to do, let alone by a woman, I merely change the subject.

Then I give him his vices – the snuff and the candy. I hope they don’t shorten his life, and I wish him another 100.

Susan Evans can be reached at 471-6778 or


Oct 8, 2004
A touching article, even if Susan is'nt 100% accurate in her portrayal of the knife. With any luck, I'll shuffle off this mortal coil myself without gracing a "supervised living facility" by my residency. Can you imagine their consternation over my owning half a hundred fixed blade knives? Or even one like a 165OT or 15OT? But then, if I let them take it from me, I guess I don't need to have it anymore. Someone needs to send that guy some Schrades.

May 31, 2004
A sad reflection on todays paranoid, politically correct society, taking a old mans pocket knife like he was a child. I'd be willing to bet that most of the rule-setters have never done a real days work in they're lives and therefore can't appreciate the bond a man forms over a lifetime with his personal tools. I hope the first thing that old fellow finds on the other side is a knife display of Biblical proportions with St. Peter telling him to pick one out because God still has a job for him to do and he'll need a good knife.
Dec 26, 2002
...State inspectors were there, saw him using his pocket knife and issued an order: Get rid of it.

I tried to explain, while he chose not to listen. (He’s deaf anyway, but sometimes he’s more deaf.)...
Should have tried to explain to the "State inspectors" and they should have listened, but they are probably more deaf...