Friday, January 23, 2009


How many years did grandpa sit at the table whistling as he whittled away on the end of a pencil to make a point? The question remains: Why did both of them lick the lead in the pencil before writing with it?

Our on-the-wall pencil sharpener put school pencil sharpeners to shame. It may have been purchased at Grundy's Office Supply near the Falls Theater. That is the same place where one could by the predecessor of felt tip markers.

Felt tip markers cost 15 cents. It was a glass bottle with the 'wick' coming out of the top with a cap on it. They came in red, blue, and black; later green would be added. The point on the marker was a chisel edge a fourth of an inch wide. The point was soft and if you pressed too hard it would compress.

Grundy's was the place to go for pencils. Old Trunks was especially fond of 4H graphite. When sharpened at home it was a weapon. A tip broke off in my hand once. Grundy's was the source of India Ink and calligraphy pens and points.

I would learn how to use calligraphy pens and ink while taking notes in high school. Although I announced I was taking notes, I was really experimenting with a style not in the book. He was the same teacher that made me put my gum on the board and my nose on the gum. He is one of my nameless teacher.

Flair tip pens were the pen of choice when Rachel was growing up. They too, had a soft point. Push hard and the pen is smashed. If one had a light stroke as my mother did, the point would last until the pen's ink was exhausted.

My grand daughter has a vast array of markers to choose from. Old Trunks notes even the retractable high lighters have harder points. Pens for scrap booking have a variety of point finishes. The world is our oyster.

But there is yet another writing type implement. It is the mouse used with desk top computers, (although some folks use a mouse with their laptops).

The lead broke in the mouse recently. It had over the last few years, become my favorite pencil. It was a lady bug. And when I could no longer highlight with it, I tried all sorts of other things to try to make it work. I did not wish my lady bug to fail.

But fail it did, just like the one that was shaped like a fishing lure failed. In the magic computer drawer in the closet, which is filled with bits and pieces and reminds me of a coffee can full of nuts and bolts, there was no back up. The 123 commands I had learned on Word Star in the late 80's was not getting the job done. A purchase would have to be made. I would have to go to a Grundy's.

The selection was vast but out of all of those mice, only ONE met my criteria. I did not want a wireless nor did I want a gaming mouse. I wanted a simple plug and play or in this case plug and use.

Old Trunks is not inspired by a black mouse. It doesn't have the appeal of a felt marker in a jar or a 4H pencil from an office supply store on LaBree Avenue in a city in Minnesota.

But what it does have is function. It gets me where I am going. Instead of highlighting with ctrl A, I can do it with the mouse. The day is saved without whittling and the eraser is guaranteed for a year.

And Connie, this ctrl A is just for you!


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