Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, the best pencil sharpener in the world


This is a revised drawing from my Mother’s Day essay published here in 2013. Mom died later that year.

I was a bad thumbsucker, as my mother used to say. But the one thing I liked better than my thumb was a pencil. When I was two, I could draw Roy Rogers and Trigger better than I could say their names.

As long as I was drawing, I wasn’t sucking that sinful thumb.

Early on, my mom discovered that the keys to keeping her toddler content were a bag of groceries and a pencil. She tore open a large brown paper bag and laid it flat on the kitchen floor. I would lie there with it for a minute, gazing at its awesome emptiness, then – pencil in hand – disappear into it for hours. Mom could then go about her daily business without worrying about me.

To my mom, the best pencil sharpener in the world (JD Crowe) – al.com

I only went upstairs for fresh air when my pencil needed sharpening. I didn’t have to say a word. I just lifted my pencil and Mom came with her paring knife, the one that looked a hundred years old. She put the pencil on her left index finger and scratched the lead until the tip was sharp and the tip of her finger was black.

The same knife that peeled, sliced ​​and cut thousands of potatoes, tomatoes, apples, green beans and cantaloupes also sharpened several hundred dirty and snotty toddler crayons. Please don’t say a word about this to the Ministry of Health.

My mom is the best pencil sharpener I’ve ever seen. Every stitch was a work of art. And like fingerprints, no two were the same.

Thanks for always trying to keep me and my pencils sharp, Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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JD Crowe is the cartoonist for Alabama Media Group and AL.com. He won the RFK Human Rights Award for Editorial Cartoons in 2020. In 2018, he received the Rex Babin Memorial Award for local and state cartoons by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Follow JD on FacebookTwitter @Crowejam and Instagram @JDCrowepix.


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