A work friend of my father’s from before I was born. Claude was a permanent fixture in my life growing up. A consummate outdoorsman and a true jack-of-all-trades, he had a knowledge of miscellany that bordered on encyclopedic. If I ever had a problem, no matter what it was (and I do mean ANYTHING,) I could go to him and he would have a solution. However, chief among Claude's interests was his passion for cutlery.
Claude introduced me to knives. His house was full of them. It was like stepping into a bladed tool museum. Every blade had a story to tell and I relished in hearing them. There were the more traditional blades in his collection – Cases and other classic brands from his boyhood. All the way up through weapons of war and bayonets that had seen live service and tasted blood – or so he liked to tell me.
His passion for cutlery extended well beyond the steel varieties with which we are all familiar. I remember spending lazy weekends scouring freshly turned cornfields with him in search of prehistoric relics; flint blades and axes, arrowheads and spear points, archaic precursors to the blades we all know and love. Claude always seemed to find the best stuff, and on the rare occasion that I found a nice point, he would be right there, “I’ll give you fifty dollars for it?”
And then, there was the Christmas when, quite by chance, Claude and my Dad happened to gift each other with the exact same knife (early Spyderco Mariners in stainless). And when my family took up sailing, Claude was the one to teach me how to deep-sea fish and how to properly handle a blade while filleting my catch.