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The last visit, a halloween story.

Oct 2, 2004
The young man walked through the dimly lit house, feeling the sense of loss and emptiness. His grandpa's funeral had been that very afternoon, and the last of the people had finally went home, leaving the young man alone in the house. He'd been unusually close to his grandpa, his own father having been killed in a tragic auto accident when the young man had been a small boy. His grandpa had stepped in and raised him like a father. The tall white haired old man had taught him to tie his first fly, to lead with the brass bead on the shotgun when shooting upland game. His first car had been one that the old man had taught him to rebuild in the driveway of the old house. Now the old man was gone, a sudden heart attack taking him without any goodbye's. Words left unsaid. It had been only the two of them for many years, his grandmother passing away years before.

The young man roamed the house, unable to sleep even though the hour was late. He sat down at the small table in the kitchen that had served so often as a gun cleaning station, game dressing table, and card table. The clock in the hall chimed midnite, and slowly the young man got sleepy, and his head sank farther down, until his chin touched his chest. He fell into an uneasy slumber, in which he had a strange dream; his grandpa was standing over him and he was coaching the young man in sharpening his pocket knife. This was the one thing the young man had always had trouble with, sharpening his pocket knife. In this dream, the white haired old man with the drooping white walrus mustache was leaning over his shoulder.

"That's it, pup, small circles. Remember the saying; "from kick to tip, and take a minute getting there." the old man said.

"I'm trying grandpa. I'm trying."the young man said.

The knife made a swishing noise as it moved on the stone, and the young man got the feel of it like he'd never had before. He looked up at the old man.

"I wish you didn't have to go, grandpa!" He said to the old man leaning over him.

"Well, my time is done, pup. It's been that way since the begining of time. We all only have a short time here, then we have to move on, and make way for the next generation. All we can hope for is that we taught you all well enough to carry on. It's up to you and yours now, boy. Just remember the basics of what I taught you, and you'll be alright. You know the difference between right and wrong. You know to be careful of speaking in anger, because words are like bullets from a gun; they can't be recalled and can wound deeply. You know to take sides on issues, because standing in the middle of the road long enough can get you run over. And now you finally got it down on how to sharpen your knife." said the old man as he laid his hand on his grandson's shoulder, and puffed on one of the pipes he always smoked.

"I still wish you didn't have to go, grandpa."

"We'll meet again when it's time, boy." said the old man kindly.

The young man woke up with a start, shaking his head.

"Wow, what a dream!" he said to himself, as he went to get up from the chair, then froze stock still.

In his hand was his old scout knife that he always carried, and on the table was the small pocket carborundum stone that his grandpa had always carried in his pocket. The old leather sheath for it had small holes where the bottom corners of the stone had worn through the leather over the decades. The young man stared at the stone, and then felt the edge of his knife. It was razor sharp, like his grandpa had always been able to do on the pocket stone. Carefully he closed the knife and slipped it into his pocket, and stood up. He could smell the sweet aroma of the pipe tobacco his grandpa had smoked. Feeling a bit strange, he looked around and saw something that shocked him. The pipe rack on the counter that held his grandpa's pipes had one pipe out of place, and laying on the counter. He walked over and picked up the pipe, and it was warm to the touch, as if it had just been smoked.

Slowly, with a great careful deliberate movement, he placed the pipe back in the rack in the empty spot. Then he slowly turned around and looked over the dark house. His eyes probed the shadows left by the few lamps that were on, and he could see nothing out of the ordinary. Yet a strange feeling pricked at the edge of his senses, like something unseen but still there.

"Grandpa?" the young man said quietly, no longer sure it had been a dream.

Nothing in the house moved, and the silence was heavy exept for the ticking of the big clock in the hall. But the strange feeling still persisted.

"Okay grandpa. I promise to never forget the basics you taught me. I'm going to remember what you taught me, and if I don't know what to do, I'm going to ask myself 'what would grandpa do?' But I still wish you didn't have to go!"

A warm feeling came over the young man, and he finally grew sleepy and went upstairs to bed. As he drifted off to sleep, he had the strange sensation of being tucked in like when he was a small child. Thinking he was dreaming again, he muttered "I love you grandpa".

As he passed over the knife edge between wakeful and sleep, he thought he heard the soft far off voice of his grandpa, "I love you too, pup."

He slept that night a deep and dream free sleep. He never saw the slight back and forth movement of the old rocking chair in the corner of the room.
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Traditional Forum Moderator
Gold Member
Sep 2, 2004
I'd give anything to have a visit like that from my dad. You sure can spin a yarn Jackknife. Thanks.
Mar 2, 2008
Well you did it again sir. Well done. Luckily the wife is gone for a while and I can have a good minute alone after putting the boy to bed. Thanks again Carl.
Aug 17, 2007
Great story Carl!

My maternal grandmother was the last of my grandparents to pass away almost 10 years ago. She got to see all three of my kids. My wife makes this one meal that my grandma used to make for me all the time. Every single time she does and I eat it, I can't help but miss her.
Jan 25, 2010

I think I'll get out that old knife my grandpa gave me tonight.
From that secret box of my most treasured things...
He's been gone over 30 years now...but THANK YOU, Jackknife...
I think he and I will watch some football tonight...:thumbup:


Gold Member
Dec 28, 2007
Thank you for another great story, Carl. I read them all. I don't understand why you don't have pm's or emails enabled. I would like to chitchat with you.
Jul 31, 2009
Another awesome story Jackknife, I still have my grandads old swiss army knife, the handles are covered in scratches, looks like its stone washed or something. Both the blades have been turned into warnclifs just from sharpening over the years, still a great little knife.
Dec 8, 2006
Thanks for the story. It was just what I needed to put a smile on my face first thing in the morning :)
Apr 17, 2009
Thank you Carl. Makes me think of my grandma who passed 2 years ago. She meant the world to me. I can sometimes smell her perfume she always wore. Red door. Oh how I miss that old lady.
Jul 27, 2010
Wow another great tale that brings a tear to the eye, and makes one think about what's important in this life. Especially the ones we loved that passed on. Thanks Carl

Nov 2, 2008
thanks, JK. Wish my grandfather was still around for a talk. Still have his old Imperial hunting knife.