To the left of the sink, in the top kitchen drawer, on the right hand side, sits an old, worn out, wooden handled, paring knife. It’s about six inches long, with a dark wooden handle, held together with a small, metal screw. It is old, and has weathered two or more lifetimes of use, I’m sure. You can almost see the shape of someone’s hand, imprinted on its’ handle. When you hold it, you can almost feel my mothers’ hand, or perhaps it’s my grandmothers’, who held it before her. The blade is no longer perfectly rectangular, but has worn away into a crescent shape in the centre – most likely a result of my grandfathers regular honing with his sharpening stone.
The blade has greyed, and the steel has completely lost its lustre. There are dark spots, and a few places that accumulate rust, if not taken care of immediately after use. It is dangerously sharp. You could end up with a very nasty cut if not careful, and if my memory serves me correctly, it has always been this way. My father, was also an expert in the honing department.
I stumbled upon the old wooden handled paring knife, while my sister and I were sorting through my mother’s belongings. There is still, a plethora of household items, in boxes that have been in storage for almost two years. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the little wooden handled paring knife peeking out of an old dish towel, at the bottom of a box. When I spotted it, my heart jumped, and a flood of old memories, of my mother coveting, and guarding that old wooden handled paring knife came over me.
I quickly grabbed it, and placed it among my stash of various bits and bobs I planned on taking home with me. Sheepishly, I looked at my sister, as I tucked it carefully into my bin.
“You don’t mind, do you?” I knew my sister would surely have nicked it for herself, if I had not acted quickly. But my fail proof line, when I really, really want something that belonged to our mom or dad is; “You know where it is, if you really want it”. She hesitated, but did not challenge me, and into my bin it went.
There was something magical about that old knife. It’s not that it brought back any significant memories, just familiarity, and a comfortable feeling. I knew that knife, as if it was part of our family; almost like a sister. Trust; you could rely on her “fail proof” sharpness. Routine; she was used every single day, for one thing or another. Normalcy; she lived in the same spot in that same drawer for 44 years. Reliable; in that she would always be there. She sat in the top drawer, to the left of the sink, on the right hand side, my entire life.