Sunlight. Shattering on the grassy gravel and stabbing me in the face. Summer shimmered around me, and my 6-year-old self was ready for a caper.
I slowly walked into the detached garage, dodging tools, junk and detritus. My dad had left the door open and happened to be occupied elsewhere. The lure of the garage called to me, since I was not typically allowed to enter the musty cave of random things.
I eyed the workbenches and spider webs. Noise. Was that Dad’s footsteps? No, just in my head. I returned my attention to the tools lying out on the shelves.
There! A pocket knife.
I took it off of the shelf slowly, as if it might leap at me. I held the knife gingerly, reverently. This was the thing that could help me whittle like Grampa.
I wove my way out of the garage, the knife still closed and clutched in my hand.
Need to find a stick. Gotta find the best stick. Where’s a good stick?
I grabbed one off of the ground under a tree. Now to open the knife…
Still holding the stick, I grasped the blade right at that little groove that’s supposed to help you open pocket knives. I pulled, hard. Nothing. Come on, knife!
It swung back, just a medium-sized blade in my tiny hands. I grinned. I held out my stick and got to work.
“What are you doing?” Dad’s voice broke through my thoughts.
I looked up at him in excitement.
“Look!” I said, waving my newly whittled stick. “Isn’t it cool?”
Dad inspected my stick for a brief moment. He knelt in front of me.
“What’s this?” he asked, pointing at the blood running down my left pointer finger.
“Knife bit me,” I said.
“Hmmm. Maybe we need to get you a knife more your size. This one,” he took the knife out of my hand and closed it. “is too big for you. Ok?”
I nodded, drooping my head in shame. Dad slipped the knife into his pocket, took my stick and wrapped his large hand around my good hand.
“Let’s go get a band-aid.”
We walked across the lawn into the house.
“This is cool. Grampa showed you how to do this?” Dad said as we walked.
A few days later Dad presented me with a little pocket knife, one exactly fitted to my tiny hands. And for the next 20 some years he gave me a new pocket knife at least once a year, each one different and exciting in it’s own way.
The last two knives that Dad gave me are a set. They have little sheathes and are perfect for sitting on top of my bookshelf to let people know what I’m made of.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
I promise I haven’t cut myself lately.
Thanks for all the knives that are just my size. I miss you so much.