So the other day, I had the boy over at the local pawn shop and he was drooling over the knives like all normal little boys do. I made the decision that based on his conduct while he was here, he was old enough and mature enough to handle a small folding pocketknife. So I bought him a little $4.00 Chinese-made folding lock-blade knife with a pocket clip. And like every little boy who receives his first knife, he went crazy over it. I oiled the mechanism and showed him how to flip it open with one hand and how to wear it on his pocket, and that evening, I taught him how to whittle sticks. (He's spent several hours sitting and quietly whittling since then. I should have thought of that a long time ago.) And he told me that his mom would go ape when she found out that he had one, because she's always told him that knives are too dangerous.
I knew that the storm would be coming when I bought it for him, but darn it, he's not five any more. He's growing up whether she wants to acknowledge it or not.
And sure enough, when his mom--accompanied by my own saintly mother--showed up, the first thing he did was show off his new knife. And the hysteria commenced.
"WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?!"
So I interceded on behalf of the boy and he got to keep it--although I suspect that it's going to disappear as soon as they get home. And all was well until we went out to go get dinner and he stuck it proudly into his pocket only to have his mom shriek: "Put that upstairs right now! You don't ever take a knife outside!" He protested, and she launched off on a tirade about how he didn't need a knife because there was nothing to cut where we were going and no reason to carry knives in public. I told her that in West Virginia, it was the law that all males over the age of ten had to carry a knife and that as long as he was staying here, he could continue to carry it as he'd been doing for the past couple of days. She relented, but there's no doubt in my mind that that knife is SO going to disappear when he gets home. But for now, it's his most cherished prize possession and a symbol of his impending manhood.