The Perfect Knife

Back in the days when you could buy old quilts at estate auctions for change, I would hang out at those held at old farms. Sometimes I scored a really wonderful quilt, which I would repair and hang on the wall of our house with 12' ceilings. Researching the fabrics and designs was fun, and I would make up stories about the women who pieced these lovelies. My more modern house doesn't have the ceiling height the Ohio Stars and Drunkard's Paths require for proper display, so most of them have been carefully packed away. However, at one old farmhouse, I felt compelled to bid on a kitchen knife as well, and its use continues today, at least 25 years later.

The kitchen floors in this white frame house curled with old linoleum, the enamel table in the center of the room showed rust spots under the crackling, and every pot and pan was up for sale. This one knife, with a smooth old wooden handle and an "s" curve of a blade from years of being sharpened, had clearly been a favorite. I bought it. It reposes next to the fancy knifes with shiny blades in my kitchen, and if I don't dry it quickly, rust skims its surface, but I love that knife. It's light, well-balanced, and razor sharp when I get its blade done just right. Every time I pick it up in lieu of one of the new knives, I feel its age and know that this knife, clearly homemade, served its owner well for many years, and me for many more.

One day, one of my children will be gifted with this knife. I feel as if I must pass on its secrets, its story, until its blade shatters into nothingness as it slices one last Hanover tomato. If only I knew what it had to tell me. Mostly, I make up my own tales for it. That's good enough for me.