I’ve been opening a large bundle of mail everyday with a zip letter opener that looks like a whale’s head with an angled razor where his throat would be. It was well used but its usefulness had expired. After a few months of struggle it occurred to me to buy a new one. What had previously been a pushing, shoving and ripping contest was transformed to “zip zip”!
Hello! A basic maxim of life is to “keep your saw sharp.”
So my thanksgiving this week is for people who sharpen the cutting edge.
My father — one of his trademarks was sharp kitchen knives. A few months ago I heard the story about the origin of this minor obsession. My dad was in a butcher’s shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan; this butcher’s lightening speed in cutting meat was legend. The reason was simple: he stopped and sharpened his knives often. This inspiration from the late 1950s stayed sharp until his death in 1987. Everywhere he went he sharpened the knives. He was a man with a steel in his hand. I remember the whisk and whirl of the blade, the circular back-and -forth motions that blur together, the high-pitched tsk tsk of blade on steel.
My husband Curt is as obsessed with cutting firewood as my father was with kitchen knives. Beginning in May, he maps out the plan and goes out with our son Chris and brings home the fuel that keeps our homes warm. He is restless until the wood is in. Every evening before a wood cutting trip he spends considerable time sharpening the blades of his saw. Honestly, I don’t know what he does! But he keeps the saws in excellent working order. I would be tempted to do this every other time or every third time, but Curt never skips this important step. Falling trees is serious business and I’m grateful that he treats it with the respect it deserves.
Last weekend we put in a patio. Chris brought his father-in-law’s stone cutter saw and made all the cuts for the pavers on the edge. The ability to cut bricks made a huge difference in the beauty of the finished product. I saw the same dedication to excellence that his father has in our son. He considered, selected, measured and cut all the live day long. And at the end of the day, we had a beautiful cobble-stone-ish patio. Sitting on the patio at the end of the day with my husband softens the sharp edges of the day.