About thirty years ago I was gifted with a small, iron, potbelly parlor stove. I learned or heard or came to believe that it was from the 1910 era. It has been a part of my possessions ever since, moving it from house to house… until now.
The stove was discovered in the back yard grasses of an empty house. A house being sold. Abandoned. Destroyed. I don’t remember the details about the house. I wasn’t there. I only know it came into the hands of a friend of mine who passed it along to me when I expressed interest in it.
After taking possession of the parlor stove, I set to work cleaning it up. It was stuffed with debris, burned paper remnants, charred pieces of wood, and a lot of ash. The stove was covered in a reddish-orange rust from top to bottom.
Once the trash was removed, I scrubbed it down to see its true condition. From there I removed the layers of rust with steel wool. Wiped. Sanded again. Cleaned again. Finally, I could apply multiple coats of a fire-proof black paint and restore it to its simple beauty and poised for work.
While I never burned a fire in this little stove, the metal stovepipe protruded from the hole at the back of the stove base. It became only a décor centerpiece. It was a very heavy ornament displayed in a corner of a room, wherever I lived, no matter the house.
A few days ago, during a visit to my home, someone else recognized its beauty. He took a photo of the stove and shared it with his mother. The next day, she and I talked about her interest in it and her desire to fulfill the wishes of her recently deceased husband.
They had been restoring a home of similar age to the stove when her husband had unexpectedly passed away. There was a spot for a potbelly stove in this old house. They had been looking for one for years that would be just the right shape and size. The woman could tell from her son’s texted photo that this was the stove!
After setting an agreeable price with her on the phone, she came by to collect the stove for her hundred-plus-year-old home. The stove would fit right in. It will have a special place in that home for many years as part of a couple’s desire come true.
As my husband and I pack boxes and prepare to return to our beloved Colorado, we’ve “released” many items along the way. It seems the more that’s released, the easier it becomes, no matter the length of time we’ve enjoyed that special something. It was the right time and person to pass along this dear little fire holder.
We are only ever caretakers of the things in this life, whether they be houses, children, jewelry, money, or something else. Our job is to be good stewards of such possessions, knowing some (if not many) will last beyond our lifetime… to be cared for by someone else. We get to enjoy such gifts while we have them. Making a void by releasing items at the right time creates a void that can be filled with something new. I look forward to discovering what’s next. What joyous thing will find its way into my life? Won’t it be interesting to see what shows up!