Knife Grinder pt. 2

Two things happened: I finally caught the knife grinder on my block, and my camera broke. I leaned up against the breathing diesel side of the truck in the sun, cursing the lens and trying to live a bit in the moment, to soak in every detail. The grinder had four wheels- a rough and smooth grit, spinning, and some sort of wire wheel, still, and a super soft buffing loop, all attached to the portable rotor by leather thongs and ancient rubber loops. I handed him my knives- three of my grandmother’s Henckels (60 year old knives, she gave them to my mother, my mother gave them to me) the paring knife of which had a broken tip since I’d known them, since before I was allowed to touch them as a child. He said “Oh no, these are bad, very bad!”. I was a little shamed. The walls and ceiling of the truck were paneled in thin pine and there was a sweet old pit bull who gave me a sniff and then laid down in a patch of sun streaming through the dashboard onto a mottled green carpet. The grinder himself was a column of grey in worn work shoes and a pair of those Tom Joad pants with the perfectly square pockets that are usually the color of the clear sky but were the color of the sea, he had wide knuckles, a little smile, and a smooth sided anvil that he finished each blade on, a metal whetstone, that made a satisfying rasp as the edges were made perfect. He held up a piece of newsprint and sliced it cleanly in half and said “These are now very, very sharp. You need to be careful now. And I went ahead and put a point on the little one.” He wrapped them up in an Italian newspaper and handed them to me and (literally) winked. It was perfect.


Author: loiseaufait

Little by little the bird feathers its nest, and object by heart burnished object we surround ourselves with lovely necessities of memory and function. It is these things that make a silly Apartment a Home or a silly Wednesday an Occasion. Whether my nest is an old farmhouse, a sixth floor tenement walk up, or a brownstone basement... whether I share it with family, vagabonds, women of heart and mind, or a little brown cat and a sweet ginger banjo, my principal joy is filling it with light and laughter (and corralling).

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