The Carpenter's Pencil


I just realized how odd this unsharpened carpenter's pencil amongst the many other random necessities I have in my purse probably looks to the average person who would take a peek in there.

When I was younger, I attended elementary school down the street from where I lived. I was fortunate enough to live next to my grandparents, so on days mom had to work late or dad was on night shift, there was always a Papa or a Ghea waiting for us after school. Now, before I go on any further, let this be a disclosure- I absolutely love my grandmother to death, it may seem that I favor my papa, but in my defense, I related to him very closely so I never had a problem sharing my feelings or being close with him, we were very much the same person in many ways. That being said....

At the end of each month and each grade period, I would get awarded a pencil for behaving myself in class and getting good grades. Every pencil I earned went straight into my back pack and the next time it saw light was the next time I saw my papa. There was no contemplating on keeping any of them, my papa would cherish them more than I ever could. Each pencil I gave to my papa made his eyes light up. He would lift me to the grandfather clock on the wall, open the door and have me place them in there for safe storage, until it was time that he needed another one for work. Anytime I saw him working in his shed at home he had one of my brightly colored, sparkly pencils behind his ear, whistling away. He used them for odds and ends, I knew this. I was always amazed though, by the strange "square pencil" he would always use with such ease.

Of course, as the years went by and I grew up, I stopped winning pencils. Every now and then I would go to an open house or win some random thing in school and get a pencil & would give them to my papa.

A few days after he died, my mom called me and said, "Courtney wanted the blanket I made for your papa...I hope that's okay, if there is anything you want you need to go soon" By the time I was able to leave from work my grandmother had already thrown a lot of stuff away (a completely different story for a completely different day). I was confident though that she had no clue what I wanted, therefore it was safe. I went straight to the clock, opened it up, and there they were...still a small collection of the shiny, sparkly pencil, worn with age and use, but they were there. It instantly brought me to tears. I had no clue what I was going to do without my main support in my life anymore. I left my pencils there & reached for the sole unsharpened carpenter's pencil that looked odd amongst my pencils.

I've kept it in my purse since that day & don't intend on ever parting with it. Such an odd, random, palpable object brings me comfort on my worst days.