Ha, Aaron, Gunslinger, didn't know that was your nom de guerre, but just had to use it now that I do.
This is a pretty cool story so I thought I'd post it here, Mark should get a kick out of it for sure.
Anyway, I'm pretty new to the community. Ex-chef turned sommelier, now rediscovering my love for cutlery. Was perusing CKTG like a kid in a candy store and noticed something odd. Almost everything I was thinking about buying had been reviewed by some guy named Aaron from Akron, Ohio. The location stuck out I think because I grew up right around there. But I thought to myself, damn, this guy must have one helluva collection.
Anyway, I was going to pass through Ohio from from Chicago on my to the East Coast in a few weeks. Even though I'd posted nothing (hadn't even joined at this point now that I think about it) I'd been impressed by the solidarity of the community and how genuinely helpful everyone here seems to be. So I figured what the hell, might as well ask. PMed Aaron out of the blue and we chatted a bit online and then on the phone and he agreed - ever so graciously - to let me test drive some stuff.
So the day comes and he shows up with a truly astonishing amount of gear. J-knives, and J-nats, and strops, OH MY. It was crazy. We proceed to chill and sharpen and shoot the shit for like four hours. I was amazed at his generosity in giving up his afternoon to help me out.
A bird's eye of our work station.
Then we were packing stuff up and one stone was left rather conspicuously on the counter. 'Don't forget this one,' I said. 'No, it's yours,' was his reply. I was blown away. Now, I had set aside a couple bottles of vino for his trouble, but after such a gesture I felt impelled to respond in turn, especially since it had come to my attention that our little sharpening party was happening just two days before his birthday.
Thus, a bottle of 2000 Dom Perignon for the lad in 'exchange' for my very first J-nat. Here it is with the Richmond Artifex 210mm overseeing the transaction (seemed fitting to have Mark's presence there ;-])
Couldn't have happened without this forum. So glad to be a small part of it. And thanks again Aaron!