78. Machetes and Sabers and Swords, Oh My!

I’ve previously mentioned my passion for swords, knives and other lethally sharp objects. Most male members of the human species have a predilection for bladed weapons, I suspect.

My family has a Mennonite background. Mennonites are known for their pacifistic beliefs (and really good cooking). In spite of our heritage, we’ve amassed a formidable collection of blades over the years.

Our current assemblage includes several machetes, an antique cavalry saber, an antique gaucho knife, a set of samurai swords, a throwing knife, a hatchet and a replica of Bilbo’s sword Sting from the Lord of the Rings films. This collection doesn’t include a number of machetes and knives we’ve lost, left behind or given away over the years.

Some of the blades aren’t just for show. My old man uses the gaucho knife to slice apples. The machetes were used regularly in Ecuador, whether for cutting grass (we didn’t have a lawnmower) or chopping wood. The cavalry saber is no longer wielded in battle, but it gives whoever happens to be holding it an air of authority. It’s hard to argue with someone brandishing a cavalry saber.

My old man is particularly skilled with blades, able to snap a stick in half by throwing a machete from a distance of several feet. He says the technique is using for killing snakes in the jungle. I’ve never seen my old man kill a snake—such creatures are pretty rare in the urban areas where my parents have worked for the last decade—but woe to the foolish serpent who crosses my father’s path when he’s got a machete handy.

Our arsenal of blades was surprisingly inexpensive to assemble. The most pricey item was probably the cavalry saber, purchased from a fellow missionary for fifty dollars. Machetes are a dime a dozen—all right, more like twelve dollars for one—in Ecuador. I bought the samurai swords for twenty dollars from a college roommate.

I think we’ve spent our money wisely. The Lord Jesus himself advised his disciples to invest in bladed weapons.

(Disclaimer: I may possibly be taking the verse slightly out of its original context.)

I wanted to make a sword during That Time I Was a Blacksmith, but I never managed it. Making S-hooks and tent pegs was hard enough—a sword would have been practically impossible.

(I laughed bitterly during that episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender in which a character with no experience as a blacksmith forges a beautiful sword in a single night.)

Although I will never make my own sword, I will continue to enjoy and appreciate the blades my family and I acquire.

Swords are awesome. I’m holding a cavalry saber, so don’t even try to argue if you disagree.

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