The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Passion for a pocketknife

Rachael Conlin Levy
Norman Rockwell painting, Museum Syndicate

My 7-year-old sons spent the day at Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge learning about ducks. Greenwing Day, sponsored by the Nevada Waterfowl Association, knew that teaching to boys must involve action: They fired a shotgun, took two rides in a motorboat, learned to make a duck call, and won pocketknives. And while my sons can explain the dangers of a coot (sharp claws) and describe the bite of a black fly (terrrrrrible!), the highlight of the day was becoming the proud owners of pocketknives. Here’s what one son said in just one hour the next morning:

  1. I just can’t believe I have my very own knife.
  2. Mom, can I show you the bottle-opener?
  3. Do you have some string I can cut?
  4. Do you think this is my fish scaler?
  5. What is a fish scaler?
  6. I just can’t believe I have my own pocketknife. It even attaches to my belt.
  7. Dad, I can open a beer with my bottle-opener. Do you want a beer? (Asked at 10 a.m.)
  8. I have a saw, too.
  9. What can I use this saw for? (My reply: Scale fish.)
  10. I know what my big knife is for, for sharpening sticks for marshmallows.

Want to take a guess how many sticks will be whittled on our camping trip this coming weekend? I’ll report back next Monday.

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