The last time I used her was on Halloween to poke holes into some rather large pumpkins. It was a last ditch effort to save our jack-o-lanterns and it worked. For the first time since the kids could understand the meaning of the holiday (costumes, free candy, haunted houses, occasional tricks instead of treats, and jack-o-lanterns) we made some pretty darn good-looking jack-o-lanterns.
I must admit that past Halloween jack-o-lanterns have been fairly lame because I won't do any actual pumpkin carving. I'll draw the "old school" triangle eyes and nose with the badly spaced teeth, take a kitchen knife and hack away. And despite what is being advertised, I think the carving kits in the grocery stores are a waste of money. I never bought one despite the whiny complaints of two unhappy Morgan children. But this year I gave in. A week before Halloween the kids and I were grocery shopping and I spotted the corrugated display at the end of the aisle. The kids looked at me; I looked at them. Without saying a word I threw the kit in the shopping cart, causing Masana and Mack to dance around like idiots for the rest of our grocery expedition. (And for the rest of the week can I just admit that I was the favorite parent and I LIKED IT??)
But when we finally got around to using the kit, the word "frustration" would not be sufficient to describe how we all felt. The tools were plastic and the small poker tool broke after a few minutes. So I went into my tool box and got my trusty awl. After working magic on the pumpkins, I washed her and left her on the windowsill by the kitchen sink. I forgot about her until the next afternoon, and when I remembered to look...oh, no! Not there. I looked in the garbage and searched every cabinet, drawer, and basket in the kitchen. I looked in the dining room and all the cubbies. I took my work room apart and combed through all the jars and containers and boxes. I turned my house upside down. But I couldn't find her.
Oh, my pretty awl. Look at her! The rounded bottom of her smooth wooden handle, the sharpness of her thick metal pin---how I loved to hold her and know what she could do in my hands.
I am wearing black today, mourning my loss. And if you've ever lost a really important tool, you know how I feel.