the conversation about the stove

For a time, I grew up in another world…Germany, to be specific. Ten years with wonderful food and crafted houses and separate shops for butchers and bakers. I liked it. Once a year, there was an unspoken tradition…I’m sure it’s shared in some form all across the world (we’re really not so different, are we?). Once a year, we would walk/drive the neighborhood scouring for some lost piece of art or a simple table for the living room. I remember it being like a treasure hunt with grand and guaranteed rewards.

In the Mitten State, it’s known as the Upper (pronounced You-per, in honor of the Upper Pennisula folks) sale, and it happens all year long. Anything placed on the curb is fair game. Sometimes, the items are questionable- like the human cage Thad and Michele saw one night innocently (?) placed on the curb. The rest, in varying qualities, are of the normal variety: friends have scored DVDs, couches, dining room tables, doors, and countless bookcases this way. And, it’s all free. The process speaks to the Dutch people like none other. It sits well in the very heart of them.

Which brings me to a recent conversation I had with a boy.
Our gas stove is easily 40 years old. The gas company doesn’t have parts for it. The servicemen say it’s ancient. It still cooks, though it’s beginning to get a bit senile. It doesn’t remember or hold temperatures very well. Sometimes, the oven refuses to come on at all…which is a bit defiant, but not unlike some grandparents I’ve known. Technically, it still works, and that’s why we still have it.

Our neighbors have divorced their stove in fair UP-per fashion. It was similar to ours, but newer. This was apparent from the cool mustard color it gallantly wore. They placed it on the curb directly across from 650 Kellogg. I wondered as I left for work that morning if it would have been more comfortable with a friend out there- say, perhaps, our stove. I left for work dreaming of a new GE Elite…or anything that has a timer that works and can sit level on the floor.

That evening…it was dark…because it was evening.

boy: Hey! Did you notice the Parks put their stove out?
girl: Yes, in fact I did. (she begins to hope this conversation is going the way of ‘let’s make it un-lonely’)
boy: It’s newer than ours, I think.
girl: That’s what I thought, too. (hope continues to float to the surface…bubbly and giggly-like)
boy: I’m gonna go grab the knobs off it! They’re prolly in better shape than ours!

Girl is deflated. Girl is appalled. Girl is not all-together surprised.
Girl silently enters house and begins the 1/2 hour preheating process to make dinner.
Girl still dreams.

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

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