I still remember my first pocketknife. It was first or second grade, and we lived outside an Army base in what was West Germany. After much discussion, my father took me to the PX on the base to pick one out.


With my own money and my dad’s blessing secured, I eyed the models in the glass case just inside the front of the store. There was a thick Swiss army knife packed with too many tools to remember. It was so thick that I had no idea how it would fit in my pocket, which wasn’t an issue because it was out of my price range.


My eyes (and wallet) settled on a smaller knife, one the a blue plastic scale handle. A price of about $7 seems to be what I remember. There was no sales tax. It was a basic pocketknife, one with a main blade, small blade, corkscrew and standard bottle and can opener.


That was in the early 1970s.


Last week I took my 8-year-old son out to buy his first pocketknife. He’s been in the Cub Scouts and worked on his knife care and safety lesson — how to sharpen, how to close it without losing a finger and so on.


We went to the hipper big box retailer and found a Victorinox Recruit — a good starter knife with the basics — for $15 plus tax.


I hold the knife and give it to him when he requests it for specific tasks. The first request came shortly after we arrived home. He whittled a stick that had fallen from one of the backyard trees. After he stripped off the bark and shaped one end into a fine point, he nicked himself on a finger. Nothing serious, but just enough to chalk it up as a safety lesson.


Over the years, I’ve acquired several other knives of all fashion and function. But I still have the blue handle pocketknife.

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