Pat Shingleton: "A Cut Above the Rest..."
George Washington carried one and Mark Twain wrote of a “real Barlow” in “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” in 1876. A Barlow is classified as a penknife however original penknives didn’t have folding blades. Original knives resembled a scalpel and were designed to thin and point writing instruments known as quills. Both knives were used for whittling which is an exercise in cutting small bits or pare shavings from a piece of wood. No matter what the season, Bert Price, our grandfather, not only carried a Barlow but also whittled. He kept his pocket knife super sharp, often sharpening it with what was called a "wet stone." I remember him whittling during moments of relaxation and also moments when the weather put him on the porch, rather than in his vegetable garden. When we would ask “Gramps” to borrow his Barlow he would fold his newspaper, spit some tobacco juice, slowly reach into his coveralls and retrieve his precious knife. He was very protective of us and our safety and no matter how many times we borrowed his precious knife he would always extend a protective saying, “Now mind, that Barlow is sharp and cuts two inches ahead of its shadow.”
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