Sometime in the mid-80's, on a road trip, my parents stopped in at Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Seviervill, TN. My Dad is a knife & gun guy and he found a cool 18th Century style dirk with a horsehead handle. They bought it and saved it for Christmas that year. When Dad opened it there were many ooh's and aah's at the shiny new dagger...but the real appreciation came the next time someone had to open a gift wrapped tightly with ribbon.
"Scissors!" someone called. "We need scissors over here!" In a flash the dirk was wielded, the ribbon sliced, the knife re-sheathed. Mouths agape, our eyes were opened to just what a horsehead dirk could do.
Since then the horsehead dirk has been a constant, though unlikely, Younce Christmas tradition. It was the only thing we used to cut ribbon or other stubborn packaging, year after year. The call became, "Dirk! We need the horsehead dirk over here!"Dad looked down the road to when we would grow older and move away. He went back to Knife Works and bought four more dirks and kept them for years, giving one to each of us on the Christmas after we were married.2008 was the first year we have not traveled to someone else's house for Christmas. We spent it in our own home, with our own family and my parents. My own horsehead dirk was finally put to good use, slicing and dicing ribbons and tags so we could all access our gifts and goodies. Then it was quietly placed back in its sheath, and back in its box, to wait until next year.Or maybe just until my birthday.