Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Friday, April 29, 2016

Goose wings

 Grandma had a coal stove. That is what I called it but it really was a cook stove. You could burn wood or coal in that big old cast iron thing. It wasn't very ornate and sat tucked in the corner of the kitchen. Next to that sat the kindling box. When I was small I would play with those sticks of wood and build all sorts of things. Grandma didn't mind at all, go right ahead and make all the mess you want. My Mom wasn't as always as thrilled about it. I spent many hours playing close to the warmth of that stove. I can not remember a time when it wasn't lit. Grandma cooked her meals on it, baked cakes and pastries in the oven and heated the house with that stove. It was vital.  As with most older homes there was no heating system upstairs and Grandmas bedroom was off the parlor downstairs. She did have a kerosene heater in that parlor but it was seldom used. Only in the coldest weather would that be lit. Grandma was leery of that contraption and with good cause. A tank holding five gallons of kerosene fed that heater. Every once in a while you could hear the " glug, glug " of it going down. Removing and refilling that tank was pretty tricky business.
 Growing up I didn't give much thought to Granma having that kitchen stove, Grandpa had one too. I figured all old folks did. I found it interesting how you could open those lids and see the fire inside. It had a shaker for the coal. Grab that handle and just shake it back and forth. The burnt coal will drop through the grating and keep the coals burning. Of course it worked with wood too. The chimney damper was set with a small counterweight and on windy days you could watch it open and close. The stove pipe when into the wall and was surrounded by a decorative ring. The chimney was inside the wall and was the same one the kerosene heater used in the parlor. All fascinating stuff to a small kid.
 In Grandmas back yard there was the wood pile. Schencks fuel would deliver the wood. The logs were cut to length but not split. The axe was stuck in the chopping block and I watched Grandma spilt many a log. It was an impressive sight. That little old lady would grab that ax with one arm. Wrapping her arm around the handle she would raise that ax and strike a log. The log seemed to explode into pieces. She repeated that process until she had an armload. I would carry them into the house and put them in the woodbox. Later, as we kids got older, we would do that task for her. She was well into her sixties before that happened though. Tough old lady there. She had a large coal bin attached to the rear of the house as well. I can remember the coal man, Percy Schenck filling that up. What a noise and a lot of dust. I always wanted to fill the coal bucket. I'd be a mess before that was over but I was " helping " grandma.
 When I was small there was one chore that I ran away from. When grandma decided to clean out that stove, I was outta there. I didn't mind the dust and dirt but when she swept out that firebox she used a goose wing ! Yes, it was an old goose wing and as a child it scared the crap out of me. I just didn't like that thing at all and of course Grandma had to tease me with it. She would pretend to hit me with it and laugh when I ran. I'm telling you I was just creeped out ! I was told that goose wings made great wisk brooms and dusters. When Grandma told me she used the down off that goose to make a blanket I just about died ! Little did I know that goose down comforters are highly prized. OMG, she ripped that gooses wings off whole ! And then she stuffed her blankets with his feathers. I had seen her use an ax and didn't want any part of that. Dang, life was violent back then. And the kids nowadays get offended by name calling. Yeah, I'd say we have softened up a bit.
 Grandmas kitchen was a wonderful place. What I wouldn't give to sit there and have a cup of coffee with Grandma, NaNa, as I her. She made the most delicious pastry imaginable. The percolator was always on and there was always something happening. Life centered around that kitchen. She raised ten children there. I can still picture the way it looked to this day. That's probably because it never changed. Same colors and everything in the same place. Very comforting.