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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 29 years."


Cutting away... 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 rescuing us.

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 dangerous weapon.

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 nothing else.

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 information also.

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. 14-15.

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 Congresswoman Shelley.


Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  February 08, 2007