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Posted by Between the Lines

I was out in the outbacks of Stanwoodopolis today, down a dirt road I’d never traveled, one no doubt soon to be paved and developed, but for now 35 acres off the highway, down a dead end, where a buddy was clearing out a recently deceased friend’s shop, house and outbuildings to the highest bidders. Actually, to anyone who would take the stuff, pay the daughters of the deceased what you thought was fair.

First time through I rummaged around, took some maple and walnut lumber, shielded my eyes from the siren call of power tools I really don’t need any more of, and was about to take my leave when the old parlor stove caught my eye back in the far corner of a crammed shop. Now … for those who think a thermostat, the kind with a dial and a graduated temperature setting, is an antique compared to the new digital, individual areas with timed on and offs controlled by a smart phone … for those of us who have avoided moving into the late 20th Century, a wood parlor stove is a tempting item. And … if you have a 1930’s stove that heats your woodshop with a gaping crack in the cast iron body, you better believe a 1900 intact, fully functional, nickel top stove would be hard to resist as the perfect replacement in your shop. Which explains why it’s in the back end of my truck waiting until daylight to unload the beast, drag it into its proper place on the throne and keep me warm these cold damp days. With style!

I guess I live an antique life, I know that. And as the world accelerates exponentially, I realize I’m falling farther and farther back, an object no longer closer than it seems in the rearview. Even these — these scribbles on a page written by hand in the upstairs of my old shack — are old school anachronistic musings few people will read and no one will remember. And why would they? This particular past in the digital future will look as obsolete and irrelevant as, oh, I don’t know, heating with wood cut and split and stacked and burned by some old fart in a stove you might see in a museum. You know, if we still had museums by then.

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