Way back -a long, long time ago -in what now seems almost like it was another dimension- and it was that because this story had its beginnings 49 years ago this summer, I was working in a really delightful place -the old General Cigar Factory that used to be one of the bigger, albeit probably one of the cheapest, employers in this region.
I was what as called a "packer" and in that job, I was supposed to sort cigars, by color, and place them in trunks for packaging.
Did you know cigars have colors to them?I didn't either until I was hired on at that place but it wasn't all that great a match as jobs go for me because I could never gain very much speed since I really couldn't see the color differences.
But that's not really what this is about.
Rather it is about a traveling salesman who happened to stop at my home and showed my Mom and I this wonderful set of cutlery that could cut rope and the edge off a penny (or any other coin too, although you aren't supposed to deface coins made by the U.S. Government, but this sales rep used that as a ploy to show how great this set of knives really were.)
I liked the knives well enough but the salesman wouldn't have had any real problem selling them to me. But my Mom now? That was a horse of a different color!
But this guy put on such a great demonstration of the wonderful qualities of these knives that my Mom was even convinced that although $188 was a lot of money to shell out for a set of knives -plus a set of 12 beautiful steak knives too, that came packaged in a lovely wooden chest-type container-that she actually backed the idea of my buying these wonderful items!
And, so I began building my "hope chest" then with those knives. (You all do know what a "hope chest is, I assume, don't you? It's often a big old expensive cedar chest in which you place various items you purchase with the intent they will all be attractive and of course, very useful, once you get the opportunity to set up housekeeping.)
It was several years that went by before I actually began using the items that I had purchased for my hope chest -which in my case was not a big old cedar chest at all, but rather an imaginary entity as my items in my hope chest were stashed in various storage places at my Mom's house, just waiting, patiently, for the day I would get marred and begin housekeeping in my own place.
Those knives were nice and yes, did work very much the way the sales rep had promised they would do and they were guaranteed too -for a lifetime. I don't know whose lifetime they were guaranteed to last through but that was part of the great sales pitch anyway.
Over time though some of the knives in this wonderful set of implements began to disappear. Over several years time, the set of 12 steak knives gradually diminished, one by one, until finally there were none of them to be found anyplace in my house!
I'm pretty sure they all went out the door, in the hands of my son, during his youth and were used for all kinds of digging and construction of things in my yard. They are probably very well buried there to this day, come to think of it.
I have often thought that perhaps it would be worthwhile if I were to one of the best metal detectors online to use in my yard and see how many of those once beautiful steak knives, along with the two trimmer knives and paring knife too that all went missing from my set! That surely would put that item to the supreme test, wouldn't it, if it would show me where even some of those good knives are today!
Oh and remember the sales rep also had said about the lifetime guarantee and that any knife that didn't hold up, I could send it back to the company and they would replace it, free of charge. Well, the knife that is supposed to be a large carving knife, beautifully made with serrated blade and all sure doesn't look like it is supposed to look and I wonder though, if I were to send this item back to the manufacturer, if they would send me a brand new replacement or not.
One look at it though and I'm pretty sure they would say that the guarantee on that knife is null and voice especially if I were to explain how it got to the shape it's in today.
I'm pretty sure it wasn't intended to be used to trim the base off a lovely hemlock tree intended to be our Christmas Tree one year but which needed a bit of "shaving" (shall we say?) to make it level in the stand -which is what my son used that poor little knife for instead of looking for a much more appropriate tool.
Ah, boys and what they think of as being appropriate toys for openers and what they also will use to improvise and implement in place of proper tools too sometimes.