Fetching the Stove

Today I’m on the road back to Burlington to pick up my new antique wood cookstove.

My friend D has kindly agreed to ride over to the city with me, for which I am grateful. Not only will it be helpful to have extra muscle on hand when trying to pass heavy pieces of cast iron through a basement window, but my twelve-year-old truck is rusting at a suddenly accelerated rate — the muffler rusted through two weeks ago; the tailgate hinge fell off two days ago — and it will be reassuring to be traveling with a mechanic on board.

Though D heats his house with wood, he has never used a cookstove. However his father, my dear friend Allen, grew up with them.

D told me the story of Allen’s grandmother sweeping her kitchen and lifting a stove lid to empty the dustpan into the firebox. Apparently she did not notice that among the wood shavings and dust were a number of bullets. Breakfast was punctuated by a fusillade of gunfire.

As I often reflect, my life has been so dull compared to many.

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