Rural Missouri - May 2012 - (Page 24)

Dressed in 82 pounds of armor, Karl Kindt III shares his entertaining tales of character, values and chivalry T “My iron suit cost approximately $4,763.17,” says Karl, with a wry smile. “It’s designed to fit like a glove; it has no mercy.” Once he had the suit, Karl placed his newspaper he newspaper ad read, “Would-be knight ad to see if anyone happened to need a knight. The for hire. Have armor, will travel.” Simple, to rest is history. the point. Surely there would be someone “After that first call from the elderly lady about in search of a gallant fellow who would go her plumbing, the calls started coming in from wherever duty called. And if someone answered the schools, scout groups, senior centers, libraries, you ad, Karl Kindt III would know there truly was a marname it,” says Karl, who estimates he’s spoken to ket for a 21st-century knight. nearly 20,000 people during various presen“Someone answered the ad all right,” says Karl, tations over the years. who lives in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves. Some requests have been more “My first call was from an older woman. She wanted unusual in nature. Sir Kwain has to know if I was the knight, and if so, could I come walked brides down the aisle, over and fix a leak under her sink. attended wedding rehearsal dinners, “I said, ‘Why would a knight know anything ridden in parades on a horse and about plumbing?’” he recalls. “The elderly woman served as a bouncer at parties. replied, ‘Well, I wasn’t sure what knights would be “Most of the time, it’s doing nowadays . . .’ So I sent a plumber over to schools, scout or church repair the leak.” groups wanting me to share Since 1995, Karl — also known as Sir Kwain my stories about chivalry,” (Knight Without an Interesting Name) — has been Karl says. “But I can tailor my promoting chivalry to young and old alike. presentations and stories to fit Most people know Karl as an information services just about any group.” coordinator for the law firm of Lewis, Rice & FingRandy Joeckel, leader for ersh in St. Louis and a computer instructor at WebCub Scout Pack 965 in St. ster University. But not everyone knows about the Charles, asked Sir Kwain to speak pilgrimage that inspired him to take on his knight at their banquet recently. persona. “He explained what the job of a “My father was a 21-year-old machine gunner in World War II in Germany,” shares Karl. knight was back in history,” says Randy. “Then he shared stories about bravery “My mother was expecting before he and chivalry. He even sliced a watermelon open left for the war, so he left a letter writwith his sword — lengthwise. The kids were ten to ‘the new one,’ me. He gave the mesmerized. letter and enough money for a dozen red Webster • “The moral seeds he planted in these roses to a friend and asked to have them Groves kids, if reinforced by the parents, will delivered to the hospital when I was born, stay with them all their lives,” should he be killed in action.” adds the scout leader. Sadly, Karl Kindt II died April 12, 1945, Karl calls his many stories only three months before his son was born. “true imaginary tales.” These Karl’s mother eventually married a childinclude Sir Kwain and the Name Dragon, Sir hood friend of his father. Stepfather John Prescott Kwain and the Armadillo and The Village raised Karl to think of his real dad as a chivalrous of Imnotsure. Karl tailors the stories to the knight who’d fought evil dragons so we could enjoy topic and age level of his audience. But the freedom we have today. with authentic medieval weapons, “So I grew up with all these stories of knights including a 4-foot sword, throwgallantly helping others in need,” says Karl, 66. “Of ing ax and morningstar, Karl can course, when I went to college, I put all that away, always keep the interest of any but I never stopped thinking about my dad.” age group as he tells both hisOver the years, Karl visited with anyone who had torical and concocted tales that known his father, trying to get to know the man he always end with a moral. never met. An Internet search led Karl to a man who “Hilarious stories that are seriserved in his dad’s platoon and knew where Karl’s ous in nature,” he says. “That’s the father had been killed in Germany. best way to describe them.” For decades, Karl re-read the letter his father left Since 1995, Karl has traveled as far him, and eventually Karl felt the need to travel to as New York carrying messages of chivGermany and see where his father had died as well alry and good character to all who will as the cemetery where he was buried in France. listen. His fees vary according to the “Seeing his grave had such an impact on me,” distance he travels and other factors. says Karl, recalling the moment again. “I never “I love it,” says Karl of his time spent grieved his death growing up, but I couldn’t hold as his alter ego, Sir Kwain. “But my wife back when I was there.” thinks maybe I need to scale back the A statue of King Arthur standing in the cemetery knight stints since I’m 66 now. But for chapel brought back the stories of knights his stepnow, Sir Kwain lives on.” father had shared with him years ago. That’s when Karl thought maybe becoming a knight who shared For more information about positive messages with others might be an honorKarl’s programs, log on to able way to remember his father. So he came back www.knightforhire.com. home and began the process of becoming a knight. You may contact Karl He found a man in Idaho who specialized in makat kkindt@earthlink.net or ing armor. After 212 measurements and a year or so call 314-308-7075. later, Karl owned a 16th-century battle armor. The suit weighs 82 pounds, so Karl began strength training so he could wear it any length of time. Sir Karl Kindt III poses in his authentic replica of 16th century battle armor. by Heather Berry hberry@ruralmissouri.coop 24 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://www.knightforhire.com http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2012

Rural Missouri - May 2012
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Moonshine mystique
Missouri snapshots contest
Curbing copper theft
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
The mandolin man
Knight for hire
Hearth and Home
The kid with the electric car
News Briefs
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - May 2012

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