“Bought this rig (the American Clipper) three and a half years ago,” he says. “I went to Gunnison when it got hot here in summer, and my motor seized up, just died. I had the tow truck drop me at a city market and a Wal-Mart. I didn’t know what to do. I’d just gotten my Social Security check but I can’t live on it. I needed a new motor. Somebody put something up on Facebook in Gunnison, this nice lady taking a picture of junior and me in front of the rig, and she implored people to help me.”
He looks up from his work grinding the blade and grins.
“People started giving me $500 donations,” he says, “then boxes of knives started arriving. In two weeks in that lot, I sat there and made $3,000. Bless them.”
Gosselin’s mouth and grinder keep running in a steady hum. It is an elaborate set up, this workbench, given the cramped space of the American Clipper’s countertop.
“I was trained to do this as a child in Hershey, Pennsylvania,” he continues, scattered sparks coming off the grinder.
Gosselin has seen the country in his time. He was married once, “to a hula girl in Hawaii, but she’s passed on now.” And he’s moved on. He throws out names of towns like those sparks coming off the knife’s edge: Quartzsite, Willcox, Gallup, Tuba City, Ramah (N.M), Telluride, Crested Butte. He’s plied his sharpening trade all over, before coming back to Flagstaff for the fall. His favorite spot: a strip mall outside of Winslow.