The Pencil Sharpener (There is a Point to this Story)

I may not be the sharpest pencil in the drawer, but I can sharpen those pencils.

As we prepared my parents to move into our house and say goodbye to living autonomously after 69 years of marriage, I learned a few things. Life is unbelievably hard when you are old. Giving up control is one of the most challenging things a person can do. Pencil sharpeners may hold hidden meanings.

We moved Mom and Dad into our Florida home two days before Hurricane Irma hit. Six weeks later, Dad graduated to heaven. He was ready. His body was worn out, as was his hearing. His eyes that used to sparkle so blue had clouded over and gave way to blindness.

His legacy includes being an efficiency expert. He was a micromanager, which was my biggest challenge. He wanted to inspect each and every item that they owned to judge its usefulness and potential in their new home with us. And being raised during The Depression, there were a lot of items.

There were 13 telephones hidden in various places, plus 2 in use. When asked about this, he supposed my mom was the responsible party. He even grasped at the straw that someone had been stashing phones in their home. Certainly, a foul plot was afoot!

My dad was sharp until the end. His mind had to derive an option that did not include his inclination to never throw away anything that might have some future use. We didn’t bring up the eight razors or the seven pairs of TV ears. He didn’t need the frustration.

But the pencil sharpener fit into a category of its own. Possibly Dad loved this office supply more than all the telephones put together. He was determined to bring it with him. I lamented our lack of need, for we had a sharpener, not to mention that I personally have not used a pencil since 1967.

That began an all-out search. At Dad’s direction, I called my son to see if they needed a top-notch sharpener. I asked my daughter. I called my brother in New Jersey. Sadly, it looked like this sharpener would be reduced to living on the streets.

Dad ultimately accepted that the sharpener was no longer needed. Its usefulness complete.

I did not see the parallel in this story until weeks after Dad’s death when I tried to sharpen a pencil with our sharpener, and it failed to work.

I guess Dad got the last laugh. His beloved sharpener was retrieved and has a place of honor in our home. It took me a while, but I finally got the point. May it sharpen our pencils forever.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Who knew a simple pencil sharpener could become such a beloved treasure. 💜

    Reply
  2. Vanessa

     /  January 9, 2018

    What a wonderful story. The tale of a pencil sharpener with a great legacy.

    Reply
  3. Linda

     /  January 9, 2018

    Oh my goodness! I had no idea you ended up keeping it. You know our father was (at least pretty much) always right! Love you!

    Reply
    • I was determined not to keep it, but I guess it was meant to be. I had to dig it out from their house before the estate sale people came. Thankful I did. Ironically, now ours works, so I guess I needed two!

      Reply
  4. Chris

     /  January 9, 2018

    love it – love all the puns – love hearing about Dad . . . . and your interactions

    Reply
  5. I stole two sharpeners when I left my former employer. They are cherished possessions. I also collect pencils whenever I go on vacation. I recently got one from Death Valley. Glad you could retrieve Art’s sharpener and give it the home it deserves!

    Reply

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