The Work of Mothers
(A Stuckey’s in Oklahoma circa 1970)
When I was about eight, we were traveling cross country and stopped at a Stuckey’s for some gas. Stuckey’s were wonderful places with food, gas, shot glasses with the names of states on them and such high tech video offerings as “Pong” unfolding in green and black. I guess a Cracker Barrel store is about the closest we have today but it can’t compare to the sheer over commercialized wonder of Stuckeys.
I was looking around the store and found a little pocket knife. It was a beauty; low quality blade forged of cheap metals, plastic casing and the name of a state printed on it. It was where form met function and function become art for a second grader. With wide eyes and a thirst for adventure, I asked dad if I could have it.
Like an episode of “Kung Fu,” dad flashed back to his life when he was eight. By that time he was driving tractors, butchering hogs and hunting wild game with a shotgun. Uncharacteristically confused by nostalgia and blinded to the realization he was raising a late bloomer, dad bought the knife for me.
I walked back to the car feeling the euphoria that comes only to an armed man. It felt good to be packing heat and I found myself hoping for some type of disturbance calling for the swift and decisive action of an armed child missing both of his front teeth.
When we climbed into the car, I proudly showed mom, who said, “Fred, he is too young to have a pocketknife.” I smiled and confidently took the knife out of my pocket, pried it open and ran the blade completely through my thumb.
One of us got in a lot of trouble from mom.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois