“Whose boy are ya?” This may be more of a southern thing, but it was a common question for me when I was growing up in Alabama. My mother had 5 brothers and a sister plus 4 step-brothers and two sisters so proper identification was importantant, especially at family functions and other gatherings. Family has always been important to me, especially when I have traveled to so many places where I had no family.
My grandfather was Paul Revere Pounders. I always thought that was a wonderful name, but he seemed to prefer PR for some reason. He was born and he died in Rockwood, Alabama, which seems appropriate since he worked with wood and stone most of his life. I am told that he could do amazing things with an axe and he gave demonstrations to Boy Scouts on using an axe to build furniture and other rustic items. The stone shown was a sharpening wheel that sat by his wood pile. He cut and shaped the stone in the limestone quarry where he worked, and carved the handle and shaft that was used to turn it, using wooden wedges to fix it tightly to the square portion of the shaft. He sharpened his ax and other tools with it quite well, especially with enthusiastic grand children to turn the handle for him. I felt so grown up when I was given a pocket knife when I was probably 5 or 6. It posed little danger to me after happily imitating my grandfather at the grinding wheel and “sharpening” it up!. I use other methods a little more successfully now, but I feel connected to a tradition, to my family when I use certain tools. My grandfather did amazing things with simple, even primitive tools and I have seen beautiful carvings produced with sharpened screwdrivers and broken glass. The art is in the hand that uses the tool…..not in the tool itself. Sometimes I try to blame my tools, but the truth is probably that I just haven’t learned to compensate for the tendencies that the tool and myself both have to do certain things. My grandfather would probably smile a little at that, a lesson he had already learned.
-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com