As we were cutting ribbon, string and tape on Christmas
presents this past week, I noticed that neither my son nor
my brother carry a pocket knife.
My Dad always carried a pocket knife.
I can remember what it looked like and
the occasions when he used it. It was not a big knife--maybe
three or four inches long, slim and a blade that folded up
into the case of the knife, which was usually ivory.
I say “usually” ivory because I always
believed that he carried the same knife until he died, but
on going through his things after his passing to the “great
roundup in the sky,” I was surprised to find several knives,
all pearl-handled and looking about the same.
I remember that his carrying that knife
always made me feel.... well, safe. I knew he could use it
not necessarily to protect us, but to handle any emergencies
that came along. I always knew that if a robber tied us up,
my Dad could somehow work around and cut the ropes, thus
As far as more practical and realistic
uses for the knife: I’ve seen him cut the shell from a pecan
to see if the crop was going to be good that year; I’ve seen
him use it to dig out a horse’s hoof; cut off an unusual
clump of grass to take to some expert for classification;
cut various ropes; punch holes in belts, saddle stirrups,
girths, bridles, to make them fit.
I’ve also seen him cut the rattle off a
rattlesnake to take to my Mom and make her scream and drop
whatever she was carrying.
That knife had many uses, even
getting a splinter out of my finger lodged close to the
surface. Interestingly, I never got an infection, no matter
where that knife had been.
And least I forget, that knife could be
used for the best thing--whittling. Whittling is relaxing.
Grab a soft branch or length of wood and start to whittle it
down. Some men were so talented they could whittle little
animals and things out of wood, although I don’t think my
Dad was that talented. I don’t remember exactly anything he
ever actually whittled. He just whittled a stick.
A neighbor of my grandmother’s--a
women--used to whittle the most amazing things out of wood.
Once she even did a whole stagecoach and a whole wagon train
which she had in a glass display case. I used to beg her to
take me to the front room and let me see her art. I often
think now about what happened to all that at her death.
Did her children appreciate her talents
and keep her whittlings, or did they throw it away? I wish I
had kept a remembrance of her that way. Not necessarily a
whole wagon but just some little animal.
Her name was Jewel Curry and she was a
most amazing woman. She gardened all day in a sun bonnet.
Most everything I learned about plants, I learned from her.
She even raised a baby deer which followed her around like a
puppy. I wonder what happened to the deer.
Back then, I think all men of my father’s
generation carried a knife. When they had nothing else
to do, they would sit around and sharpen their knives on a
whetstone--a little one inch by four inch stone about 3/8
inch thick that I never saw my Dad carry around, but yet it
popped up frequently.
This constant honing made that blade so
thin and sharp that even though it was small, it could be a
As my father got older and infirm, he
would use the knife as a letter opener, slitting the
envelope so perfectly and so dead on the crease that the
letter didn’t even look like it had been opened. Hey, if you
are going to do something, you might as well do it right.
I wonder if he ever thought about his
younger days and the uses of his knife, bemoaning what it
was used for now. Probably not. My Dad was pragmatic, if
The world is a more dangerous place now
than it was during my Dad’s day, yet my brother and son
eschew the carrying of a knife, Neither of them carry a gun
although both own one as did my father.
But a gun just isn’t as versatile as a
little slim ivory-handled knife.
Wonder how much this cost the
taxpayers?.....In my mail during this holiday season, I
received a four page, four color, slick paper newsletter
called “The Gibbs Report” from Shelley Sekula Gibbs, our
congress-critter elected by write in on Nov. 7. This
newsletter was mailed under the franking privilege (free to
the politicos). In fact, it says on the newsletter “Public
Servant” and “This mailing was prepared, published and
mailed at taxpayer expense.
It is provided as a service to 22nd
Congressional District constituents.” By that, I assume it
was mailed to all the people in Congressional District 22,
not just Republicans, and even, not just voters. It says
CONSTITUENTS, so it would be unfair to just send it to
Republicans, or even non-voters. Those non-voters need
So, I guess it went out to the 313,000
people of voting age population in Fort Bend, Harris,
Galveston, and Brazoria. I can’t imagine what it would cost
to print, address, and mail that piece. It had a one third
page list of helpful telephone numbers, but the rest of the
Gibbs Report was about how wonderful Dr. Shelley was. I
think the numbers were simply to qualify as the “service” to
the constituents to make the printing and mailing free for
her (but not for us).
I looked on the Majority Whip’s web site
and discovered that Congresswoman Shelley was elected on
Nov. 7, sworn in on Nov. 9 (Thursday) and the next day
(Friday) was a holiday (Veterans Day). On Monday, Nov. 13,
votes were postponed until 6:30 p.m. I guess that was to
allow all the congressmen to return from their Veterans Day
holiday. Then Congress was in session Tues. and Wed. Nov.
Oh yeah, they adjourned at 1 p.m. on
Wed., Nov. 15 and we didn’t see hide nor hair of them until
Dec. 5 when they quit at 3 p.m. They worked full days on
Dec. 6 and 7, but on Dec. 8, when they knocked off for the
Christmas holidays at 3:30 p.m., they adjourned until the
new session on Jan. 4 when Congresswoman Shelley will be
replaced by Nick Lampson.
The way I figure it, Congresswoman
Shelley worked five days and two 1/2 days for a total of six
days. She sure spent a lot of money in those six days. I’ll
remind you of this when she runs again in 2008.
I knew it wouldn’t last....I guess
those of you who care now know that Tom DeLay has started a
blog on the internet. Most of us who know him couldn’t
believe he would do something for free. After all, who was
going to pay his green fees? Sure enough, he is charging $52
a year to subscribe to the web site and sure enough even he
has admitted that he doesn’t write it.
The first day the blog was put on the
internet, over 100 people logged on to flame him (an
internet terms that means you talk bad to him). They called
him every name in the book. Even I was embarrassed.
It came down very soon and people were
not allowed to comment unless they paid their $52. Maybe the
fee is to identify those flamers and the green fees are just
a side bennie.
I used to think no politician could
embarrass us as much as Tom DeLay. That was before