I was seven. I found a pocketknife buried in the mud. We were on a fishing trip, in the middle of the sticks. I saw something poking from the ground with gold studs and a wooden handle.
It was a Buck knife. That might not mean anything to you. To a seven-year-old, it’s the Cup of Christ.
Another particularly good moment in my life:
My cousin gave me a bicycle. It was purple—my cousin was decidedly female. The bike had pink tassels on the handlebars. The feminine contraption would’ve humiliated any self-respecting boy. But it was my first bicycle.
I rode eight hours on gravel roads. I zipped down a steep hill. I wiped out, busting my jaw. It should’ve hurt. But I was too giddy to feel it.
My uncle’s farm: acres away from his house. A junkyard dating back to the Confederate Army. It was a place where rusty things went to die in the weeds.
Iron plows, oxcarts, and hay rakes. There were old Chevys, Model T Coupes, and wrecked trucks. I’d sit in their front seats and spend all afternoon driving across the United States.
It’s a wonder I didn’t die of tetanus.
A bookstore—seven at night. A girl came through the door. She had an honest smile, if ever I saw one. We struck up a conversation. I enjoyed the sound of her voice—it was huskier than most girl-voices.
I could’ve listened to her read the phonebook.
She introduced herself. But I was too busy listening to her low-pitched way of talking, I didn’t catch her name.
She never lets me forget that.
Why am I telling you this? Because last week, I saw a woman get turned away from the grocery checkout for being short eighty-two cents. And just yesterday, I saw a carload of teenagers swerve toward the shoulder, crushing a turtle.
I saw a boy get into a fistfight at the end of my street, and I know someone who lost his job because he speaks with a lisp.
If I didn’t know better, I’d guess people are getting angrier each day.
Well, I don’t know much, but I know that to be happy in this world, you’ve got to fight for it. It doesn’t happen by accident. You claw in the mud and find something shiny worth keeping. And then, you hold on to it for as long as you’re able.
If you get lucky, it’ll be a Buck knife. If you’re really lucky,
She’ll have a husky voice.