My wife is a wonderful, beautiful woman who grew up in an aristocratic southern family in North Carolina. I met her in Raleigh after I got out of the service. her family likes to drink martinis while watching the help mow the yard. My family on the other hand is a salt of the earth bunch; We came over on the mayflower and have lived on the same land for hundreds of year. We are known in our community as fishermen, farmers, Hunters and just all-around resourceful and hearty folk. One year early on when my wife came with me to visit the family for Christmas, we all experienced a strange phenomenon I dubbed "A Symphony of Snicks". Every year the entire clan gets together to feast, exchange gifts and revel in old stories where the fish gets bigger and the night gets darker with every telling. In June we gather once for my Papa’s birthday to eat homemade chili and draw names from a hat to determine who buys or makes presents for who. Then at Christmas we exchange gifts and take turns opening each others presents. Everything was normal and happiness was plentiful this particular year as we gathered at my aunt Ellen and uncle Jeff's home. My cousin Adam (a giant of a man) gave me a jar of homemade moonshine and I made my Papa a mirror and coat hanger for the back of his door "something my mom said he desperately needed". When my wife got her present she had some trouble getting thru the ribbon and asked me without looking to borrow a knife. What came next was a chorus of "Snicks, pops, whooshes and clicks" as tactical folders, skinning knives, old yellow jackets, one BIG buck knife and even a tiny Swiss Army knife were opened near simultaneously.
When my wife looked up she saw thirty people sitting in a circle and all pointing the blunt handles of pocket knives out to her. Everyone had acted without thinking, they looked around at each other in shock, then smiles, I remember hearing my father’s Booming, bovine like laughter first, followed closely by my Aunt Shirley's leg slapping snicker, moments later the entire room was in hysterical Laughter! My Papa was still holding his old worn case knife high with an unsteady hand just hoping his blade would be chosen. As my wife looked around at a room full of her in-laws barking, doubled over in mad cackles all wielding cold steel in her direction, most would have been terrified but I think she truly became a member of the family that day; apparently she was the first person to ever ask for a pocket knife in the presence of the entire clan.
My father taught me to carry a knife at all times; he said that you never knew when you would need one. Mostly this means snipping loose threads, opening boxes and sharpening pencils but over the years mine has come in very handy, maybe even saved my life once.