WHAT I TREASURE
My Swiss Army Penknife
He gave it to me on my 41st birthday. It was the first gift he’d ever chosen by himself and he was giving it me for a reason. We’d just become friends again after 16 years apart, me and my dad.
As a child, I remember him always carrying a penknife and using it for all sorts of useful things in the garden, in the house, on holiday. With my impending trip to Brazil it’s no wonder he chose this gift.
Since then, me and my Swiss Army Penknife (SAP) have been to all sorts of places but the ones which make me smile (and cringe) are those where we nearly parted company. There have been quite a few near misses over the years, always due to my lax attitude to airport security.
On SAP’s inaugural journey to Brazil he was discovered on the way home by an airport security guard at the bottom of my bum bag. I’d been carrying SAP through the rainforest, where he’d been used to cut mango fresh from the tree, scrape paint from a school window frame and open a bottle of tonic water, among many other things. Luckily our guide stepped in and SAP was rescued. In the UK, however, on the way to Stuttgart, SAP was removed from my hand luggage, popped in a jiffy bag and posted back home.
Sharm El Sheikh airport experienced my near-hysterical response to SAP’s threatened confiscation until the scanner operative thrust SAP into my husband’s hand, ordering him to mount the conveyer belt carrying my suitcase. He managed to shove SAP into my case with some force and the day was saved once again.
My Dad passed away in 2011, thankfully after we had managed to patch up our differences. When I started to sort through his belongings I found no less than seven penknives in various locations – all had obviously been very well used over the years. I also found the receipt for SAP. It was dated 1989, the year we’d fallen out. He’d kept it for me all those years, waiting for us to be friends again.
These days I’m careful not to put SAP in my hand luggage. Most people have a travel checklist: passport, credit card, phone… Mine includes “where is SAP?” My husband says there’d be an international incident if there were any attempted confiscation of SAP. How silly. I mean, it’s not like he’s special or anything, is it? What means a lot to you? Tell us in 500 words; firstname.lastname@example.org