One of the things that I loved on our last trip to Mexico was the street commerce: merchants selling their wares–fish, bottled water, who knows what else–out of small trucks rumbling up and down the cobble-stoned streets. So old world, I thought, so different from at home.
Except, of course–it’s not! Today I had all my knives sharpened by Dominick Del Re, the third generation of his family to drive up and down New York streets with a truck packed with grinding equipment.
And his wit is as sharp as his knives!
As I gave him my knives, and then stepped out to take a photo of his truck, a woman materialized beside me. “I remember him from my childhood,” she said with delight! “He’d drive up and down the streets and ring his bell!”
Bell? On cue, he rang a bell on the windshield of the truck.
Back inside the truck, I told Del Re how he’d wrung the bell on cue.
He grinnned, “I’m psychic!”
Inside the truck with Del Re was a young man. Turned out, he wasn’t a customer, but a passer-by. It turned he was also Dominic (no ‘k’ though) Del Re–but no relation. He’d seen the last name on the truck, stopped to chat and discovered that the two had the same name–a first for both of them. He was just hanging around to watch the show of women, men and kids getting knives sharpened and watching Del Re work.
It’s a three-part process. Del Re runs the knives through two different grinding wheels, beveling their edges and then doing a final swipe on a flat grindstone.
As grinder wiped off my knives with a towel, he gestured at the younger Del Re.
“He’s a Ph.D,” he said, smiling. “Dominick Del Res are always smart.”