16 Minute Scenes #3

My grandfather was my Buddha. Not God, but one who had contained a mythic enlightenment. He had not attained Nirvana I would later come to realize, but in my mind, as a child, he was my enlightenment.

We sat under a tree in the back yard of the farm, myself, James, Jonathan, and our grandpa. “Now a carbon blade is the best blade for a pocket knife boys. It sharpens to a finer edge. Don’t worry about a little rust on the blade. The patina gives it character.” I twiddled my stainless-steel Swiss Army knife.

I had always admired his pocket knives. They were beautiful tools in his hands. He picked up a broken piece of half inch scrap lumber. “Boys when you whittle you hold the knife backwards and slowly pull the knife to your thumb. You have to be careful and use control. Don’t worry you won’t cut yourself if you just use control.” We each picked up a piece of wood and began whittling as he had showed us.

Grandpa picked up another piece of wood, one with an old knot hole in it. “This here, boys, was your great grandpa’s favorite type of wood to whittle. He loved the curving glide of the blade around the hollowed-out knot.” His sharp little blade shaved the wood like slivers of cream.

He set back a moment to watch us and to look out over the fields. “Boys one day when you’re a little better I’ll show you how to whittle a ball in a cage.” That lesson never came around. Not long after grandpa started having heart problems, and things began to change.

My memories float in and out of those times with him, and I don’t regret never having learned certain lessons. In all it’s not always the lessons, but just the presence that had the most meaning.  

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