Am I the only one…. Who has fond memories of my first jackknife?

By: Richard L. King

I don’t rightly recall which birthday it was, but I was real young and I had that jackknife for a good many years. (It was never just a knife, always a JACKKNIFE.)   I remember makin homemade slingshots, usin the big blade on that jackknife to do the cuttin. I’d whittle them down to size, then using the small blade I’d cut an old inner-tube into strips for the slings. Using my jackknife, I’d cut apart a pair of old worn out boots to get the leather for the stone carrier. If they had nice tongues, one pair of boots would give you enough leather for about 6 sling shots. Not that you’d need that many cause once ya had one ya liked ya stuck with that one till it wore out, but a good slingshot made a valuable trading item. Ya might even be able to trade for another jackknife or maybe a whetstone. If you used your jackknife much, you needed a good whetstone.

I also remember pickin up cigarette butts to tear apart and use the tobacco to roll a cigarette usin the thin pages of the Sears Roebuck catalog for papers. I’d use my jackknife to cut the page to size, but other times I’d smoke them in a homemade corncob pipe. I’d use the big blade on my jackknife to cut a corncob down to about an inch and a half and hollow it out usin the small blade of my jack knife. I’d use that jackknife to scrape the outside of the cob to a smoother surface. Then I’d stuff the bottom with some clay from the creek bank. I’d poke a hole in the side with the leather punch on my jackknife then, using the big blade, I’d cut a golden rod stem down to about 5 or 6 inches and poke a piece of haywire through it to make it hollow. I’d stick that into the hole in the corncob and seal it, once again using clay from the creek bank.   It made a nice stem for the corncob pipe.

I remember ridin my bike 7 or 8 miles to Pleasant Lake and back and occasionally “coonin” melons at “the old log cabin” then usin my jackknife to cut them up. No matter where I went, I always had my jackknife in my right front pocket and a few stones in the other for use with my slingshot which was always in my right hand back pocket.

Sometimes I would climb to the top of the maple trees in the back forty. It seemed like you could see for miles from up there. I’d light up my corncob pipe and sit there for hours enjoying the sights. Then I’d use my jackknife to carve my initials as high up in that tree as I could possibly get.

Sure was a lot different back in the days before smart phones and You-tube….


Gramps use’ta say
©R.L.King2012 #348
Gramps 1 (4)
About: Attitude

“Bad attitudes lead to bad decisions,
but bad decisions lead to better stories.”


1 thought on “Am I the only one…. Who has fond memories of my first jackknife?”

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