Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why is John a Lutheran?

Why is John a Lutheran? Posted recently to Yes, I really can write a (nearly) Twitter-length confession.

Going Postal with a really big razor blade (or "USPS Seppuku")

If anyone comes into a post office with one of these, run. Very. Fast. Don't. Yell. Banzai.
The last of Col. Jack Hudson's Mariniana is making its final port of call for this present generation. My mother is downsizing probably for the last time, and in the latest shipment, besides the pretty, girly stuff like the Lismore and the Wedgwood and a cherry-mahogany hutch for Linda, came the "fake Renoir" and the manly things for me -- steel statuette of the Marine Corps Memorial with a bag of Iwo Jima sand tapped into the bottom, the silver and Waterford pen-and-ink set from my dad's fellow officers in Ireland at his hail and farewell in 1943, and "the letter-opener" -- which is what dad said it would be good for.

The Japanese thought it was better for things else, like beheading and gutting and such. Of people. On the battlefield. Or just on oneself if one were having a family-shame and bad-self-esteem day.

Actually, all I can is mythologize on this cute little slicer you see above. I know two things: It's war loot that my father liberated from some dead Japanese soldier on Iwo Jima or Okinawa or in China, the entire package is 18 1/2 inches to 2 feet long, and even though many people brag that this or that thing is "razor sharp," this little sword really is rrrrrrrrrrazor sharp. And it's teeny, tiny, pointy, stick-you-like-a-pig-bleed-you sharp, too. And the weight of the package is heavy, and 7/8s steel, 1/8 wood.

Wait, that's four things. Well, you're not going to argue with me, are you? I have the sword.

Next. I have a letter-opener; now I need pen and ink.
And remember that every Sept. 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dad's Mamaluke Sword . . .

My father's saber, which has seen better days. I need to clean it up.
I never got to see Dad wear his Mamaluke sword enough to learn the intricacies of attaching it and the scabbard to the Sam Browne belt. It was never on display, but kept as close to perfectly shiny as possible in the dark of a soft leather case in the murky rear of a closet, ready for use when rarely needed. I never saw him give commands with it, but I'm sure he had snap and assurance. In later years, but before I got it perhaps 20 years ago, its mission was strictly peacetime and convivial: cutting cakes at Marine Corps Birthday balls, and Dad, usually the senior officer at offbase events, by age and retirement if not by rank, use it to help cut the first slice, which is presented to the youngest officer present.

Today, the saber is on tarnished display. I am not proud of the way I've treated it, though I mean to respect to its former owner. It's just an impossible bear to keep such a bear of a polish job shiny, especially when it leans on the stone hearth of a gas-burning fireplace. Someplace better someday, perhaps, though not likely in this house-with-no-walls.

And yes, the handle is real ivory (still legal and available "back then").

Coming next: My new "letter opener."