Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mike Rix's Knife

The remarkable Mr. Michael Rix keeps a cabin in Vermont where he vacations to escape the demands of his local celebrity. Mr. Rix stands out in any crowd, but Vermonters tend to leave him alone. Mr. Rix appreciates that.

When Mr. Rix is in Vermont, New London is a less colorful place. As a professional laundry delivery driver, Mr. Rix cannot stay away from his job for long. His vacations rarely last longer than a week; they are usually an extended weekend. After three days, Mr. Rix drives to dry cleaning establishments around the Green Mountain State just so he can smell the chemicals and the steam. His wife sometimes finds him in the closet of thier cabin cradling coat hangers in the crook of his thumb to keep in practice.

When Mr. Rix returns to New London, he fires up the engine of his van and revs it to a roar. The customers at the soup kitchen next door applaud the return of this accessible, honest, local hero. Mr. Rix loads his van with plastic bags full of pressed garments and speeds off like grapeshot to make deliveries along Southeastern Connecticut's twisting byways. Once again, the right shirts arrive to cover the right backs. Everyone receives what they dropped off. New Londoners again look as good as they did before Michael Rix left town.

On a recent trip to Vermont, Michael Rix picked up a jack knife he found in the woods next to his cabin. Though it was a obviously a very old Barlow knife made before 1940, there wasn't a speck of rust on the blade. Mr. Rix was watching a butterfly in a pine grove when he spotted the knife poking out of a bed of pine needles. When Mr. Rix picked up the knife, an owl hooted in the branches overhead and Mr. Rix felt a chill down his spine.

Back in New London, Michael Rix carried his new knife in his left front pants pocket. It weighed just enough to counterbalance the loose change in his right pocket, and it felt comfortable when he was driving.
...this is only part one of three. Stay tuned.

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