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."

1 comment:

  1. My dad's sword has been used to dispatch many a cake!

    As a USNA grad, my dad knew ceremonial better than most of his contemporaries. Aboard his first destroyer he was given the task of welcoming a visiting admiral. He saluted with his sword (up and out), caught the bill of his cap, and flung his cap into the ocean. He said it really was quite a sight!

    As a kid I fought a lot of imaginary pirates with it. (I had to keep the cork stuck on the end of it.)