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Merry Christmas & Weekly Update 12.23.16

Another Christmas has crept up on us before we knew it!  Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older but it sure seems like the time between holidays gets shorter every year.

The week leading up to Christmas was an interesting one weather wise up here.  In a matter of 36 hours we went from -25F to +35F.  That’s 60 degrees!  Think of going from +20 degrees to +80 in that period of time.  There was a light dusting of snow Wednesday and a possibility of heavy snow and blizzard conditions Christmas day.  Fortunately, I’ll be back home before then.

Last week I had a pleasant visit with a customer reminiscing about Christmas’  past.  Both of us are in our mid to late 60’s and had similar fond memories of the holiday.  None of the memories were about major Christmas gifts or elaborate celebrations, but more grounded, long lasting memories.  The special foods that we only saw at Christmas.  Get together’s with family and programs at school and church.

If you were a kid in the 50’s and 60’s it’s pretty hard to forget the hard ‘ribbon’ candy and candy raspberries.  Those hard little berry shaped candies with a raspberry flavored jelly filling.  In the center of the table at Christmas was always a wooden bowl filled with nuts, a nutcracker and ‘pick’.  A tradition we still keep.

At our house food was always central to celebrating the holiday season.  The meals were delicious with lots of home canned food.  No frozen vegetables or store bought pickles, cakes or pie…no, no.  There was homemade fudge, divinity and taffy plus so many foods that weren’t readily available in mid winter back then.  Tangerines, Delicious Apples and lots of other fruits we now get from Mexico and South America regularly throughout the winter.

All of the churches and schools had choirs singing Christmas carols and put on plays centered around the holiday theme.  In the little country school I went to, one of the area farmers would show up at the end of our Christmas program dressed like Santa Claus handing out small sacks of candy that were much anticipated.  I think even the littlest kids could figure out who was in the red suit, but it didn’t seem to make any difference.  You believed without questioning.

When I was around 8 or 9, there was still an old ‘ballroom’ on the second floor of one of the downtown stores of my hometown.  Now this was a town of around 800 so it wasn’t exactly what you’d think of as a modern ballroom in today’s terms.  It was a big open room with a dance floor, a few booths around the perimeter and a small stage up front.  They’d set up folding chairs and with a projector borrowed from the school a movie was shown for the kids.  At the end of the movie Santa Claus would make his appearance handing out more of the brown bags with hard candy and an apple.

There was a  local fella that must have weighed close to 400 pounds that always took to the stage and put on a performance playing a kazoo attached to a short piece of rubber hose and a funnel on the end like a bugle.  I guess the funnel helped amplify the sound for our enjoyment.  It brings tears to my eyes laughing about that performance and wondering how kids today would take to that type of holiday ‘cheer’.  Talk about simpler times!!!

Sometime before Christmas, we usually took a drive around town to check out the Christmas lights.  In the back seat of the car we had a blanket to keep warm and tried to avoid breathing so the windows didn’t fog up.  No laser light shows or animated decorations synchronized to a sound track that played on your car radio as you drove by.  A few simple lights on the house,a decorated tree in the front window or lighted candles on the window sills. Usually the highlight was the huge pine tree on a hill just outside of town.  The people that lived there would string lights from top to bottom which was visible for a long way away.  The lights were those big candle shaped bulbs in red, blue and green.  It was truly an incredible Christmas Tree.

While I can’t really say I’d want to go back to living the way we did back then…. there was something to be said for simpler times and things.  Most of us were happy to have what we had.  I remember getting a used Erector Set one year that came from a neighbor kid who’d outgrown it. The box was a bit worn and a few pieces were missing but I  couldn’t have been any happier if it had been brand new.

The holidays today are probably just as joy filled, but different.  No doubt 50 years from now the kids of today will  look back at their childhood Christmas’ with a similar nostalgia we older ‘adults’ feel abut ours.

As for me, it seems like most of my Christmas ‘wants’ were pretty well filled when I was a kid.  Not much I need or really want anymore. This year, a warm fire, a good meal, a Christmas movie and I’ll be happy………but I will skip any kazoo concerts.

Merry Christmas!!!

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Weekly Update 12.17.15

The Weekly Update still comes out just once a week but it sure doesn’t feel like a whole week has slid by!

The GEC #15 Navy knife came through and sold out in just over an hour.  Not a surprise.  Based on store sales the last quarter, the collector market is alive and well.

The FrogLube was added to the store recently and a few customers have taken me up on the free sample offer.  Not surprisingly, the feedback from the ones that have tried it has been very positive.  I also have been reading articles on the web trying to find negative feedback and so far, almost all of the comments have been pretty positive.  If you’ve got a sticky blade, I’d highly recommend trying it.

I’m really anxious to hear from our friend Dave.  I sent him a sample of the FrogLube and while he told me he was already pretty committed to another super premium lube, he went ahead and tried the FrogLube anyway.  Knowing Dave as I do, he’s not the kinda of guy that gets his head easily turned by the latest, newest innovation.  He tried it on a couple of knives this week and so far his reaction has been just short of amazement.  The proof will be in once he’s had a chance to see how well it holds up and I’m hoping he shares his assessment.

The other notable product release was the Limited Edition Schatt & Morgan #69 Barlows that came through with CPM154 blades.  Queen confirmed that these are the first Schatt & Morgans ever produced with CPM154 blades and I think it’s really promising for future releases.   I put these out at a Christmas promotional price that won’t be repeated and when these are gone….. they’re gone.

Schatt & Morgan 69 with a CPM154 Blade
Schatt & Morgan 69 with a CPM154 Blade

I use my knives and don’t have any safe queens or beauty queens to show off.  I like a pretty face as well as anyone, but when ya get right down to it, I wanna know if she can carry her end of the canoe.  For my personal use, I want a knife with a blade that’s high quality and capable of performing at 110%.  I’m a big fan of the Fallkniven’s with their VG10, Cobalt and powdered gold steels.  D2 is a hands down favorite of mine in carbon steels and I promise you’ll see CPM154 on a future Trestle Pine Knives project.

In little more than a week, another Christmas is is behind us.  This has been one incredibly short year!  I plan to get a post up next week ( not sure if there’ll be a weekly update ), but a little advance warning, I’m closing down for a few days next week and all shipping will be suspended as of  6:00 AM Wednesday, December 23 until after Christmas.  Also, don’t forget to leave a ‘comment’ before Christmas Eve if you’d like to be included in the Christmas drawing for one of the upcoming Trestle Pine Knives Barlows.  To enter,  Leave your comment to this post:  http://tsakblog.com/2015/12/08/christmas-giveaway/

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A Merry Christmas Wish for Everyone!

The countdown is on for the big day!  Not sure how the weather’s been where you’re at, but it hasn’t felt or looked much like winter up here, let alone Christmas.  No snow on the ground to speak of, temperatures in the 40’s just a few days ago and not a decent snowstorm in the foreseeable future!

We drove around town a couple of nights ago to check out the Christmas lights on the neighbors houses and were disappointed there weren’t many lit up.   Maybe it’s the lack of snow that makes it look less festive, but it just didn’t seem to be as bright and festive as usual.  We need snow!!!!!

Sunday, to break the monotony,  I started digging around in a box of old memorabilia that brought back some great memories of  Christmas’s past.  Here’s a little gem I’d forgotten alllll about.

DSCN2089

DSCN2090

We had a rocking chair in the living room of the old farmhouse I grew up in that was pulled up next to the oil burner that sat in the middle of the room and heated (more or less) the entire house (after a fashion).  Usually my mother or sister would sit with me and read when I was small and this book was a special one brought out just for the holidays.  Like a lot of you, it didn’t take too many readings before I could recite the words along with the reader.

I was really surprised after 60 years the book was in as good a condition as it is since it’s been handled and read many many times for countless Christmas’.  Like my sister said, it was one of the those ‘special’ Christmas items that Mom brought out once a year and carefully packed away for the next year.  It should be passed on to another generation but it’s just tough to let go of some things.

The discussion with my sister brought up a couple of other less fond memories as well.  The one task we both dreaded after Christmas was taking the tinsel off from the tree.  Cash was a bit tight in those days and it didn’t make any sense to waste money on new tinsel each year when we could reuse it.  Sooooo….. it was carefully removed and wrapped around a piece of cardboard to keep it straight for the next year.

Another great memory was a picture of one of my great nephews with his first pocket knife that I gave him.

First Knife
First Knife

He was around 9 years old at the time and had been begging for his ‘own’ pocket knife.  When I gave him the SAK, it came with a ton of warnings and instruction regarding safe use, proper care, etc, etc.  One of the conditions I put on the gift was that we take a picture of his ‘hands’ with the knife and a promise he’d keep all of those fingers attached to those hands.  Eight years later and so far, so good.

One of the best recent Christmases for me was just 6 years ago.  That was the year the I had my knees replaced.  In fact, it was exactly 6 years today.  Strange Christmas memory?  Not for me!  That marked the end of several years of pure misery with a pair of worn out knees that made even the short walk to the mailbox a chore.  To be able to make that walk without pain was truly a gift.

The most thoughtful and appreciated gift?  Believe it or not, it’s the 50# bag of peanuts I get each year to feed my birds and critters.  For me, it’s a gift that I get to enjoy over and over, everyday throughout the winter.   Isn’t it funny how our priorities and appreciation for things change as we get a few more years behind us?

All these little memories and reminders make us realize we all have ‘markers’ in our lives that make some Christmas’ stand out more then others.  Maybe it’s the first Christmas with a new ‘addition’ to the family.   Every now and then it’s finding the absolutely perfect gift for someone that lights up their day. To a few, it’s another day  spent halfway around the world away from friends and family making sure we’re all safe and sound.  For some, it’s a special day spent with friends or family.  Whatever the situation, I sincerely hope that every one of you has a truly memorable Christmas wherever in the world you might be and with whomever you might be spending it.

Merry Christmas!!