Sunday, April 24, 2011

We make our own History

Earlier this month I made the yearly pilgrimage to what is advertised as the world’s largest Knife Show. It brings blade makers from around the globe to Eugene Oregon and I tell you what…It’s so large that it’s best to attend both days in order to see it all properly. Anything with a sharpened edge is on full display; knives, swords, machetes, bayonets, axes, scythes, scissors, shears and even Klingon Bat’laths. I picked up a pair of Freddy Kruger nose pickers just for the novelty.

Although the Knife Show is the star, the surrounding buildings have a Gun Show, a Home Depot style building materials show and a used book sale.

THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people milling about a huge complex in THE most liberal, hippie infested city in Oregon. We had Japanese master sword makers who didn’t speak English, and members of the Hagana from Israel showing bladed fighting techniques.

The Japanese are always my favorite tables. The common theme is absolute works of art, mirror finishes, an open box of free band-aides and not a price tag in sight. One year I actually asked for a price on a sword and my chubber died when he said, $50,000.

Truth be told, some tables had piles of rust I still couldn’t afford. $750 for a pocket folder with a “sharp” edge on one side and fork tines on the back side. It was made specifically for amputees from the Civil War who only had one arm.

I feel fairly confident about doing some basic research about the current value of guns, but I am at a complete loss trying to appraise bladed weaponry.

But I suppose that’s the attraction for me. The next time I’m at some random garage sale and I spy one of those rusted pieces of crap dragged down from the attic with a price tag of 50 cents on it, I’ll try my best to contain myself as I talk them down to a quarter.

Can’t really put it into words, but owning small bits and pieces of American History is a desire of mine. My GrandFather gave me a Civil War era cannon ball measuring just under 1.5 inches many years ago. It’s a rusty old pock-marked and cratered moonscape of a sphere, I’m guessing for the Hugh’s Cannon, and it’s one of my prized possessions.

Funny thing about my GrandFather, he gave away all the possessions he owned, including his home while he was still alive. He didn't want anyone to fight over "stuff," but if they decided to anyway, he wanted to settle the matter himself, in the flesh. There were no fights, no questions and no debate. GrandFather gave away his treasures as he saw fit, and that was that.

GrandFather always did give the best gifts, even if I didn't recognize how special they would become to me at the time.

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