Does everyone get excited about writing tools? There’s just something about the feel of a lovely pen in my hand that makes we want to write and scribble. Just now I was compelled to complete the entire Saturday Star crossword because I liked the pen so much. It’s my sisters from her pen jar by the door. And I think I’m going to steal it.

It’s nothing fancy. A black fine tipped sharpie that emits the finest scrawl when applied to paper. It’s a light feathery script that is making me happy to sit and doodle. I’m going to start on the Globe crossword next. Why end the ecstasy if I don’t have to. Particularly since Rudy and Molly are curled up snoozing while the snow gently falls outside. It’s like a Christmas card over here! Thanks Tina and Frank!

Musing to myself about how much I like to write with a pen, I recalled a memory from so many years ago. I think I was in grade 5. My favourite teacher EVER, Ken Dawson, was teaching us how to write cursive and how the writing instrument could make all the difference. I took everything he said to heart. Even reading Farley Mowat at the age of 10 when Nancy Drew was “it”. Mr Dawson told us fountain pens was where it was at. He also made us swoon (as much as grade givers can do so) when he picked up his guitar and sang Blowin in the Wind. Ok. Back to pens. Mr Dawson used a fountain pen himself and let us try it out.

I must have broken speed records running home to tell my parents I needed a fountain pen. My very life depended on it. They seemed unconvinced by my life and death situation. And eventually another grade five angst-ridden issue took over. I felt happy using Mr Dawson’s pen in class. Mostly because it was his and he was trusting me with it. After all, it was the Pen he used to grade us on report cards! A sacred utensil.

Months rolled by and Christmas arrived. My friend Ruth was getting earth shoes and Levi cords in cool colours. She always got tons of stuff. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. The routine was for us to walk up to church for the Christmas concert and when we walked (ran in a frenzy) home, somehow, perfectly magically, there would be presents under the tree. As a kid you naturally think bigger is better. So when my dad handed me a smallish box with a knowing smile on his face I was a bit disappointed. I unwrapped the box and it looked like a long jewellery box inside. I snapped the clamshell open. Inside laid the surprise of my life. A fountain pen.

I was so stunned I couldn’t even breathe. Dad said he had ink too and we could practice later at the table. Who knew a) that my dad was listening when I gushed about fountain pens and b) that he even knew what it was. Now I can sit back and imagine my dad going to the local stationary store and asking about fountain pens. Then choosing one for me. Feeling happy and proud that he could give such a meaningful gift. What a beautiful memory.

I still have that pen. It’s ink long dried. 45 years later.

Today as I write electronically it’s an old fashioned notion. One that I will treasure.

p.s. Mr Dawson is my security answer to “who was your favourite teacher”

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