The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Cougar Hunting Knife

As we travel the around the world many times we find people and things that connect us to our roots, generally in the most unexpected ways, and in most cases those events leave strong and pleasant memories in our minds.

On a given Saturday, sometime after we had relocated from Brazil to the Netherlands, I decided to go for a bike ride with our children. My general manager was traveling and his wife just had have a baby, and their son was a very active boy, so I told her that I would stop by and include him in our small bike expedition, so she could have a couple hours alone with the baby.

When we came back to bring her son back, Margaret invited me in and said that she a Brazilian friend that she would like me to meet. We exchanged some pleasantries and in typical Brazilian way soon started enquiring about each other’s background. I asked where Carla was from and she mentioned that I probably would not know it, a city in Northern São Paulo state, called Ribeirão Preto. Well, I was born in Ribeirão Preto. Which part of the city do you come from? My family is from Vila Tibério. That is where my grandparents used to live. What is your family name? Tardelli. Well, that is my mother’s maiden name. In less than five minutes we figured out we were cousins.

Next on the list happened sometime after we relocated from the Netherlands to the United States. I visited a gun show in Kalamazoo. When I was no more than a child, a close friend to my mother, Ivete, gave a hunting knife to my father, who was an avid sportsman at the time. It was a Cougar, made by Mundial, a large Brazilian cutlery. I was looking things around at a gun show when coming on to a table I saw a card box with the picture a high power scoped rifle and some bottlenecked cartridges on top of a jaguar or leopard pelt and inside it a brand new Cougar knife.

After asking for the price of the knife I paid the amount so fast I must have frightened the seller. I had to be quick or Cougar could get away. This connection is described in detail as “Chasing Cougar over 30 Years” in my book “A Wild Beast at Heart”.

Today another unexpected connection happened to me as I was perusing through used books at the Crocetta fair, in Torino, where I am currently working from. My initial objective was to buy a cheap used book to help me improve my Italian.

I discovered a small treasure instead. In the €1 session, I found four books from Francisco Marins, a great Brazilian writer of books for children and teenagers. They are all hard bound, second and third editions, well read but in good shape. The fours books are “Nas Terras do Rei Café” which I first read when I was 10 or 11 years old, “O Coleira-Preta” which I just finished reading minutes ago, “Gafanhotos em Taquara-Póca” and “Viagem ao Mundo Desconhecido”.

Right now I am feeling that Mr. Francisco Marins just allowed me to travel in time and space. I am feeling like a 41 years old child, walking on the red rich soil of Fazenda Taboa.

Which connections do you have?


  1. Hello Rodrigo, I had good connection when I unexpectedly met you in 2008 in the same place of hunting in Uruguay

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