If you’re around Shepherd Hills very long…you’re gonna hear us say…”It’s more than just a pocketknife…” cause we’ve lived it in our own lives, and we’ve heard it from SO MANY of our Case knife collecting buddies.
Well, we ran across this slice of life told to us by Greg Stark, who at the time was the manager of the Shepherd Hills Case Knife store in Branson…and we think it conveys pretty well just what we mean….
It was your typical Saturday at the mall two weeks before Christmas, people scurrying about from shop to shop. A little bit of frantic & panic starting to settle in as time to find that perfect gift was running out.
A little short-handed at the store had me working late. That night an elderly lady came into the store. Telling her daughter to come back and get her later, she approached the counter. Some business needed to be taken care of, and she would do it by herself.
Patiently she waited until her daughter left the store, before asking to see the man in charge. I told her Iwas the manager and asked how I could help. She told me I didn’t know her, but knew her husband, Mark. Yes, I remembered Mark, he was a good customer of mine who always came in twice a year to buy knives. Sadly, I was informed that Mark had passed away.
Quietly, she pulled out an outdated catalog from her purse and laid it on the counter. “My husband always gave knives as presents to our five grandkids at Christmas” she said. “They have been collecting for years. It was their favorite hobby to do together. No matter how busy the kids got, they always made time for their knives and Granddad.
She continued, “Those kids loved their granddad very much and I want Mark to be a part of our Christmas this year. As a surprise for my family, I want to keep the knife gift tradition going. Unfortunately, I don’t know a thing about knives. Will you help me?”
Together we took the catalog she had placed on the counter. In it were some knives that Mark had circled. We both concluded that these must have been the knives he wanted to get. Since the catalog was out-dated, I wasn’t sure we would have all the knives in stock. Fortunately we did, and I was able to fill her order.
“Great! I’m so lucky! Christmas will have a surprise in it this year!” Having made her purchase, she started to leave. Half way to the door, she stopped, turned, and gave a bigsmile. “I’ll be back in a few months. Mark gave knives for birthdays too!”
After she left, I started thinking back to past Christmas traditions — of my own.
First, we would go to Midnight Mass. Then, it was off to Grandma’s house for a big feast and celebration. I could almost taste the turkey and hear the laughter from my family and friends. I forgot all about my problems, stress, and deadlines. For a moment I was a kid again. All because of a kind, thoughtful lady with some circled knives in a catalog.
Why would an elderly lady travel over 100 miles to purchase an item she knew nothing about? Then it hit me, she wasn’t just coming to buy a knife. She was helping Mark be a part of Christmas that year through the knives and all the while keeping their family tradition alive.
She thought it was her good luck to find the knives in stock. Actually, I was the one in luck. It was my good fortune to be standing behind the knife counter the night she stopped by to celebrate a family memory. I don’t know who got the better Christmas gift, her or me.
But I do know this…lesson learned.
So many times…it is more than just a pocketknife.