Our son-in-law Martin launches into contemplative ruminations occasionally, usually about some subject so obscure that no one knows what he’s talking about. We all laugh and pay him no nevermind. Some eyes may glaze over as he rambles.
Not long ago, Leslie and Martin, Peter and I went out to dinner. Leslie and I chattered about this and that, Martin chimed in now and then, and Peter listened, silent as usual.
Into a gap in the conversation Martin said, “You know, Pete reminds me of a well-loved old kitchen knife. A very good knife, once sharp, but a bit dulled by time and use.” Leslie and I chuckled, and Peter smiled as if he got it, but I know he didn’t. Martin was pleased with his metaphor and, I admitted, it was a good one.
Old knives did all sorts of jobs in the right hands — they peeled apples and potatoes, chopped cabbage, loosened sealed jars, dismembered chickens, even acted as screwdrivers in a pinch. Even when they don’t hold their edges anymore, those knives still hold pride of place in kitchen drawers, for sentimental reasons, if for nothing else.