Friday, February 03, 2006

The unloved pen

More than twenty-five years ago my father gave me a gold Cross ballpoint pen he didn't like. I didn't care much for it either, and for the same reason: it was too slick and slender to fit comfortably in my hand.

I used it with no more respect than I'd have spared for a (then) 29-cent Bic. I wrote checks and grocery lists with it. I often misplaced it, but it always turned up a day or two later, between sofa cushions or on the floor of the car or even in the washing machine.

After a couple of years I discovered how neatly the skinny pen fit inside the Bible I carried to church. I've kept it there ever since, using it to underline passages or take an occasional note. Both of my boys, when very young, used it for doodling on the church bulletins during the sermon. I did, too. I can't even guess how many times I've opened my Bible in church and seen the pen slide out and plink onto the floor. But it never rolls far, and somebody always hands it back to me.

Over the years I've lost books and contact lenses, keys and phone bills, but never that pen. When friends would admire it I'd always admit that I didn't care for it. But for some reason, perhaps because my dad gave it to me, I never offered it to anyone. Two or three times the ink cartridge ran out and I replaced it. I don't know why.

It's a little fanciful, I suppose, but I've come to appreciate the faithfulness of that little gold pen, which has stuck with me for more than half my life. It's tucked inside my Bible right now, where I still keep it. I get a little nervous when anyone asks to borrow it.

It now fits perfectly in my hand. I hope I never lose it.


tristan coulter said...

I remember taking that pen apart during church and you'd always tell me I was going to lose the parts.

Anonymous said...

You must be the favorite daughter.

TS said...

a pen teamed up with the Bible is a very special pen indeed.

Brenda Coulter said...

Thanks, Marvin.

Good guess, Anonymous, but that first commenter was my Number One Son.

Tristan, you took everything apart.

Julana said...

I used to have a pen like that, but it's long gone. I think it was a gift from a boss I had a hard time with. Later, I found a silver one on the street, but lost that one, too. Maybe I don't deserve scented French ink.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I have both the pen and the pencil. Got them in 1970 when I worked for Wanamaker's. I've always loved the skinniness!

Brenda Coulter said...

Maybe I don't deserve scented French ink.

Oh, don't talk nonsense, Julana. Every woman deserves scented ink.

Camy Tang said...

I have that pen too! Except I showed my unlove by not ever using it. And I still need to order me some French scented ink, darn it!

Julana said...

Ha, ha. I'll tell my husband to get on it. Right after we pay for the two bank overdrafts we had last week, for the first time since we've been married. :-)