There was this penknife...

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Oct 2, 2004
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Once upon a time, there was this guy, a typical Joe Averidge. He wasn't rich or famous, nor was he a genius at anything. Just one of those guys who get out of bed every morning and put their pants on the same way we do. In this case, Joe was a retired blue collar worker, and enjoying his well earned life of leasure. Like alot of us, he carried a little pocket knife.

Now Joe was not a knife knut. He'd never read a knife magazine in his life, and if you mentioned knife collecting to him, he'd have thought you crazy. After all, who would want to collect a simple tool? Crazy.

But, Joe knew he needed a pocket knife for everyday things, and he'd grown up in a world where a man who had pants on, had a knife in a pocket. In Joe's case it was a simple two bladed pen knife about 3 inches or so in length. Two blades at oposite ends of the knife made a slim unnoticed package in the pockets till needed. And being a man who used tools, he kept it sharp. It had been with him a very long time, and the blades were a soft grey color, and the bone handles were worn almost smooth. The jigging in the bone were just small indentations. But as worn as the knife was, Joe would never have thought of buying another one. Why buy a new knife if the old one is still servicable?

This morning he got out of bed early, sat on the edge of the bed smiling in anticipation the fishing trip. He was going to get together with some of his other retired pals for a day out at the river. He got ready to go, gathering up his gear and stealing out of the house without waking his wife.

Meeting at the 7-11 down the road, the old friends greeted one another with good natured jibes, while enjoying coffee and a donut. When Joe went to lift up the little plastic tab on the coffee lid, it tore off uneven, not leaving an opening to drink through. Joe took out the little pocket knife and made two slits at 90 degrees to each other and cleared the drinking hole.

Later on the river bank, the penknife cut bait, trimed monofiliment line, and sharpened a forked stick to hold his rod while he swapped lies with his buds. When he went to smoke his pipe, he noticed the bowl was a bit caked up, so he used the smaller of the blades to ream out the crud. The little knife was wiped off and returned to the pocket with no fanfair. It was a good afternoon, and a stringer of panfish was his to take home. The penknife gutted them there on the river bank, and an old bottle cap did duty as a scaler. He knew the better half took a dim view of fish scales on her granite counter tops.

Later that afternoon back home, his wife greeted him, and admired the catch.

"I'll cook them up for supper, honey. Get me the flour under the cabnet will you? " she asked him.

He found a new unopened bag of flour, and used the penknife to slit the heavy paper along the top. The sharp blade whispered though the heavy paper with hardly any effort. A paper bag, and salt and pepper, and golden brown fried fish made a good dinner. A bit later, Joe was sitting on the wicker lounge on the front porch, and he took a little twig and whittled a toothpick. His wife came out and joined him in the pleasant warm evening.

"Maybe we should take a ride down and get some ice cream." he told her.

"You tryin to pick me up mister?" she asked playfully.

"Heck yeah. Git in the car little lady and I'll buy you a root beer float. Two scoops."

Off they went, cruising down to the ice cream parlor in town. Buying their floats, they sat down at one of the wooden picnic tables. Joe's wife was trying to open the slick cellophane wrapper of the long straw, but her arthritis was foiling her. Joe took his penknife and slit the wrapper open.

"My hero!" said his wife jokingly. She kissed him lightly. "Thank you."

"My pleasure, 'babe!"

Later that night, getting ready for bed, Joe emptied his pockets on the dresser, and paused, looking at the little pocket knife. Opening the blade, he felt the edge, then took out a small stone from his sock drawer and gave it a few strokes. Joe liked good tools, and he liked to keep the little knife sharp.

But Joe still had never looked at a knife magazine, nor was he even aware there were such things as knife shows. But if someone had asked him why would he carry a knife in this day and age, he'd have thought them crazy. After all, Joe had grown up in a day when a man had a pair of pants on, there was a knife in the pocket. Sometimes there's a dozen times a day, a little sharp tool is handy to have.
 
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Another great one, jackknife! I cannot imagine not having a nice, sharp, "pocketable" pocketknife along in my pocket every day!

Ron
 
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A tool is a tool is a tool. Another good one for thought Jackknife. Thanks..
 

Bastid

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Great story as always. At 53 that pretty much sums up how my knives have been used all my life.

My "problem" is that I usually have a couple or 3 smaller knives on me as well as too many within reach of me when I am at home. ;).
I could get by with one.

I have a friend (fellow knife addict) that comes by every once in a while and before he settles in a seat he always checks out the knives laying around. He calls the phenomena a knife history tour.
 
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It's funny you should pick the humble two blade pen knife. For quite a few months now that's exactly what's been in my pocket. A little carbon/delrin Boker. I keep looking at pens and peanuts in prettier scales. I keep fondling a very pretty bone handled single bladed trapper. I keep putting the homely little pen knife in my pocket. If I need something bigger I grab the battered SAK Camper that my wife found in a park as a teenager and gave me for my birthday when we didn't have any money. I couldn't tell you why I like this little Boker. It's not pretty. But it always seems to find its way into my pocket.

Frank
 
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This post was inpired by many of the friends and family I've known, that while they were not knife knuts, some even distaining knives, all carry a small knife of some kind because they know they will need one sooner or later.

My friend Dan is a typical example. An auto mechanic by trade, he does not care about knives at all, one way or the other. But he needs to open so many things a day, from packages of ignition parts, brake pads, to UPS boxes, that he is carefull to carry a small penknife. Of low cost of course.

My friend Hoppy is yet another. A retired old fart, he likes to fish, shoot out at the gun club, haunt pipe shows with me in search of lightly used old Petersons. He really does not care about knives, but always has a little sharp knife on him. An old Schrade Old Timer minute man, or old Victorinox classic.

I see so many non-knife people that will carry a knife because they do indeed recognize they need one. Like having a bandana in your pocket, or the reading glasses in the shirt pocket. You know your gonna need it, so carry it.

And then you have the knife knuts like us...
 
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Keep truckin Jackknife. Another awesome story. It's ideas and ideals like this that keeps me loving knives.

God Bless
 
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Once upon a time, there was this guy, a typical Joe Averidge. ... Joe knew he needed a pocket knife for everyday things, and he'd grown up in a world where a man who had pants on, had a knife in a pocket. In Joe's case it was a simple two bladed pen knife about 3 inches or so in length.

Wait, you're telling me this Joe used two hands to open his pocketknife, a knife that didn't even have a lock!?!? :eek: What are you trying to sell us, jackknife!? :D
 
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My wife's father and grandfather carried small Case pen knives since before the depression. My father carried a small single blade lockback for years and years.

Small is beautiful!
 
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I am so old, I can not remember when I did not have a pocket knife on me. The earliest recollection was when I was about 7, cutting string off a stick in the wrong direction. Buried up the long blade clean to the bolster into my hand, never bled a drop, I guess I scared it dry. Mom never knew. Been a long long time since that slice, still carry a scar between the first finger and my thumb. Great story Jackknife. It is a tool and I would never leave home without one.
James
 

Grateful

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Jackknife I have enjoyed all of your stories that I have read here but I do believe that this one is my favorite. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.
Jim
 
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Jackknife- you can sure spin a tale. I often think about your writings when I take out my little peanut to open mail or cut up an apple.
 
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My wife's father and grandfather carried small Case pen knives since before the depression. My father carried a small single blade lockback for years and years.

Small is beautiful!

As did Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he was growing up dirt poor in abaline Kansas.
 
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Had you posted that before?
I could swear I have read it before...

either way, yet again you put Truth of Life into words. Nice!

G.
 

Fred Sanford

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Thank you jackknife. I always enjoy reading your stories.

You know, sometimes I just do a search for threads you have started and sit back and relax while reading them.

Good stories my friend.
 
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There's nothing quite like an old traditional pen knife. Thanks for all of your fantastic stories jackknife. We are very fortunate to have you sharing them with us here.
 
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There's nothing quite like an old traditional pen knife. Thanks for all of your fantastic stories jackknife. We are very fortunate to have you sharing them with us here.

s-k, at least one story has been inspired by those wonderfull photos of your old ones. Especially the ones that look like they have been carried and used for a lifetime. Ones that look like they would have a heck of a story to tell. :thumbup:

I feel we're fortunate to have you sharing them with us.
 
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Jackknife. Very nice story and would make a great part of a book of short stories to read to children at night. Thanks for sharing it with us.
 
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