By Evelyn Richardson Here and There

A recent magazine article caught my attention. It was describing and promoting various types of scissors for the sewer.

Among those recommended were dressmaker shears made especially for cutting out garments; applique scissors designed for close trimming; thread snips for clipping thread tails quickly; pinking shears to trim seam allowances to reduce raveling; and models of some of these made for the left-handed sewer as well.

I remember the day when our household had one pair of scissors. They were used, successfully, in all phases of sewing operations, but that was just the start. Let me list: trim hair, snip torn fingernails, cut out pictures for my school projects, shape wax paper to fit the bottom of cake pans, make bandages out of rags, vary the length of zinnia stems for a bouquet, remove cockleburs from the dog's coat, shorten feathers on one wing of chickens so they couldn't fly over the garden fence, and to carry out an unlimited number of other cutting jobs.

The scissors were protected by my mother, and rightly so. My father was granted permission to use them for certain farm tasks only after he had already tried shop tools and his extra sharp pocketknife without the results he needed.

As our affluence gradually advanced, specialized scissors were added to the family of cutting tools. I felt proud for her when my mother got tiny embroidery scissors to keep handy in her needlework basket. She could darn a sock or sew on a button without first looking all over the place for the scissors to cut a length of thread.

I remember how excited I was to receive as a gift a pair of buttonhole scissors that had a setscrew to make possible uniform hand-worked buttonholes down the front of garments I was making for our little girls.

About that time we bought scissors with blunt-end blades that somewhat lessened the supervision needed around young children who had no trouble visioning scissors as a weapon in addition to a tool for cutting out paper dolls.

After my thoughts had wandered enough, I decided to take an approximate count of how many pairs of scissors were around my house today. I hesitated, because I figured the number would be embarrassingly high.

One pair was standing with pencils and pens in a mug by the computer. Two other "stations" where I sit to read and write had scissors within reach. The bathroom has three nail trimmers: standard, curved blades, and one with heavy duty points. A drawer in my sewing center has a compartment exclusively for scissors that I have gathered over the decades.

Kitchen scissors weren't even in the conversation in my youth; a sharp butcher knife and paring knife could handle every job well, if we learned proper techniques of cutting.

Now my kitchen utensil drawer has two pair--one for general cutting and another with razor-sharp blades to take on meat gristle and tough plastic seals on containers.

Inside the utility closet are long-handle pruners, grass shears for spots too close to risk weed eater trimming, and another rusty pair that needs to be thrown away.

I grew up simply pulling up grass and weeds that the rotary push mower didn't get.

Scissors are only one among many items in our household that have multiplied over our lifetime. Why, I remember when I felt privileged to have two pair of shoes-everyday and black patent leather Sunday.