RIGHT OF PASSAGE

 

There's something about boys and knives that I just don’t understand. But I‘ve learned: they’re an essential accessory in a boy’s wardrobe. It’s how they make their mark—on trees, and furniture. 
My husband has carried a pocket knife as long as I’ve known him. He likes to remind me, it comes in handy when I need to open a package or dress roadkill. (Okay, I’ve never had to dress roadkill. I would hope the same is true for him, but I’m afraid to ask.) 
My boys were quite young when they expressed an interest in having a knife of their own, and I probably gave in sooner than I should have. But living in the country, it seemed an appropriate right of passage. They needed something to mark trails and clear brush. And possibly dress road kill.
Trouble is, sometimes we venture outside our rural abode, and things are a little different in the big city.
Like when I took the kids on the obligatory family educational trip to Washington D.C. We were excitedly standing in line for our first tour of the museums on the Mall when my son looked at me, panicked. “The sign says, ‘no knives.’” 
“Of course it does,” I replied. And then I paused, as the obvious dawned. “You have your pocket knife, don’t you?”
He nodded, somewhat sheepishly, though I could tell he really was wondering why on earth anyone had such a silly rule.
Nice as security officers are, certain exceptions can’t be made. Not to worry. My resourceful son somewhat brilliantly connived to hide his knife in bushes outside each and every one of the museums we visited. He set the alarm on his watch to go off about the time we expected to be done, and so was reminded to collect his precious possession.
Annoyed as I was that day, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise. In fact, I really should have thought to tell him, “Don’t bring your knife.”
Because he never leaves home without this essential accessory.
The following summer, we enjoyed some extended family time. Apparently, my sister-in-law didn’t get the memo that boys need pocket knives, and her son was left frustrated when he tried to open the (really cool) birthday gift we’d purchased for him. Not to worry. My son whipped out his handy-dandy pocket knife to assist in removing the stubborn plastic packaging.
Disclaimer: I don’t know any of this from first-hand observation.
We learned what happened next when said cousin crashed the adult-conversation party. Speaking in the strained high-pitched voice of a worried pre-pubescent, he urgently announced, “Aunt Hallie: Joe was trying to help me unwrap my gift, and he appears to have STABBED himself. He is now bleeding profusely. I think he is
s-e-v-e-r-e-l-y injured.”
By the time we got to the boy, his face was ashen. Not being one to deal well with injuries, I grabbed a cloth to clamp the bleeding and led him to the living room, where we both laid on the floor and put our feet up to prevent passing out. Meanwhile, some dear soul wiped up the blood, and my husband and his MD-sister assessed the wound.
Just what I needed, I thought. An ER trip on a holiday weekend.
Not to worry. My husband’s genius-MD-sister informed me: “I can fix that with superglue and a butterfly bandage.”
And she did. 
Yes, you read that correctly. An MD made a quick trip to Target, then patched up my son’s gaping knife wound with superglue and butterfly bandages.
To keep everything in place, she decided to wrap the hand in gauze. She struggled as she tried to open the package. Of course, my husband was there—with his pocket knife.


Posted on 2015-07-15 by Hallie Bandy
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