The other night we lit our ancient patio cast iron stove as part of a family celebration of Trevor’s leaving for college. The stove was a yard sale find, I paid $15 dollars for it years and years ago (it took 3 strong men to get it in my car.)
“A stove?” asked Marc.
“Yes, a stove.”
We placed the stove, beautiful with its etchings, in the corner of our patio and there it sat. Like many of the other traditions that started when our kids were younger, lighting the stove became an anticipated magical nightly event, a celebration the kids all looked forward to. The stove’s smoke kept the bugs away while we ate our dinners and afterward, while we sat out on the porch discussing what happened of importance that day. Marshmallows toasted just perfectly thanks to the stove’s open grate were tucked in nicely between graham crackers and a thick slab of chocolate, marshmallow goo dribbling down chins. And stories of fairies living in our woods were whispered, fireflies in the distance providing proof enough that the sprites of our tales were real.
But as the years progressed it seemed that there just wasn’t enough time for a proper fire.
Kids didn’t have time to dally after dinner anymore and instead had to get to soccer practices and school events. There was always something that we needed to rush off to. Dishes were gathered and the stove sat by itself, cold and alone.
But even still, throughout the years, it did the job that I had hoped it would. That stove has taught our kids many valuable lessons, like:
- It’s easier to gather around when a fire spreads warmth.
- To light a fire, you’ve got to start with the small pieces and build on them, one twig, one log at a time. Stick with it and you’ll get what you had hoped for.
- You need to learn that however nice a fire is, if you get too close to one, you’ll get burned, and
- Fairies will forever exist, if just remember to keep your eyes open.
Yup, our old stove has done its service over the years and although it’s certainly earned its retirement, I think that on the next cool evening, I’ll take a glass of wine out to the porch and will spend some time sharing stories of yesterdays and fairies with my good, old friend.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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