Heritage: Daniel Katz

I’ve been fascinated with my dad’s old Boy Scout knife for as long as I can remember. As a little boy, I’d take any chance I could to surreptitiously extend errands to the garage – stealing away to gingerly open the tool box (holding my breath at its creaking hinges) and ease the knife from its sheath. For a moment I would be Indiana Jones. Or Daniel Boon. Or a confused, anachronistic Jedi.

The knife enthralled me. I imagined it mutely held stories of adventure that one day I would be old enough to hear.

Only when I was much older did I get the joke. My dad was a Brooklyn-born optometrist’s son. He’s like Bear Grylls in the urban jungle – and known to be a reliable base-hitter on the stick-ball circuit – but his efficacy with an implement of this sort is limited. The stories of adventure it could tell are few.

Regardless of the authenticity of its provenance and rugged state, it has maintained its special place in my heart. It is a beautiful object and a link to both my father and an imagined history that makes me smile.