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Pat Shingleton: "A Barlow and Bermuda"

7 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, July 28 2016 Jul 28, 2016 July 28, 2016 4:15 AM July 28, 2016 in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

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.” Finally, on September 26, 1987, I was in Bermuda, accompanying my wife on an advertising conference. Three members of our family made the trip, including our “soon-to-be-born-by-four-months” daughter, Katie. Her brother Michael didn't desire to make the trip, he was two-years-old. Also visiting Bermuda during this trip was a tropical storm bearing the name of Emily.  There are plenty of Emilys in my wife’s family.  Her mother was Emily Lou, her sister is Emily and our niece and Godmother of our son Michael is Emily Nell.  There are many chapters in the family registry about “our” Emilys and the storm that hit Bermuda that afternoon was Tropical Storm Emily,with upgraded winds of 85 mile-per-hour winds and its designation as a hurricane. Concerned for my wife's safety, I encouraged her to remain with her group in a secure interior room. Tropical Storm force winds blasted the front lobby of the hotel that was located on a bluff. Broken glass covered the entryway as I alerted the hotel staff that a second punch was expected as the "other flank" of the system moved in, following the calm of the eye wall. As all weathermen would do, I watched the storm from a pub in the hotel, enjoying a couple of pints. Unfortunately it toppled numerous trees to the adjacent golf course creating tricky play the day after...

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