Sometimes it was in the hot Texas afternoon. Sometimes it was in the cooling evening as the sun started to set on another summer day.
The common denominator was that it was usually after supper, and usually, my grandfather was whittling.
Whittling was never the point though, you see.
The sitting was the point, the quiet moments you held onto before the day went by too fast.
It also gave us a chance to visit.
I remember trying to whittle too, but never seemed to get it just right.
The issue now is not that people have forgotten whittling.
It is that we are so busy, and can’t sit still long enough, to even consider it.
“The decline of whittling, which is the slow paring away of a stick, usually for no purpose other than to occupy the hands, has clearly deprived storytellers of many willing listeners—most of the old men who filled the spit-and-whittle benches outside the rural courthouses of my youth regaled themselves as they whittled with story after story, the residue, in most cases, of their own somewhat splotchy memories or the memories of their kin.”
–Larry McMurtry, Walter Benjamin At The Dairy Queen
My mom even managed to find this old gem.
Also published on Medium.