The Old Woodstove


There is a woodstove sitting on the veranda of my cottage. It’s been there for about two years. Wrapped in a blue plastic tarp. I see it everytime I go to the cottage and yet, it still sits there. What’s more, it’s worth a fair bit of money, at least $500. A very good one, comes with a blower to help circulate the heat, and a screen for an open fire effect.

We took it out a couple of years ago when the insurance company complained that it was too big for the cottage and too close to the walls. To get the clearance they required we would have had to move it too far out into the room, so I replaced it with a newer, smaller, albeit more efficient stove. The new woodstove does not even come close in terms of heating the cottage. Sure it gets it warm, but it takes longer, and it doesn’t have the same effect as a fire burning through a screen, crackling and popping. The new stove has a glass door, and you can see the flame, but….well…you know…

So there is the old woodstove, an old friend who kept us warm in the deepest coldest days of winter cottage camping, and provided years of comfort and atmosphere in the camp. Now it’s relegated to a veranda, covered with a tarp, probably rusting. I keep thinking I have to get it out of there, take it home, sell it. But it’s hard to part with, I think back on the many days I spent in front of it, most of my adult life. It was there in my late teens, my 20’s, my 30’s and well into my 40’s. It kept the place warm when we first took my first daughter down to the cottage as a wee baby, now she is a grown woman. I often think of the nights when it kept us warm as the wind and snow blew outside and we wondered if we would be able to drive home the next day.

The thing weighs much more than I can lift, in fact, my buddy and I rolled it to it’s resting place on the deck, using an elaborate scheme involving plywood and rollers, quite a process. Neither of us had the guts to take it off the veranda. My Dad quite rightly reminded me that he and I installed it, taking it to the cottage in his old Plymouth Volare stationwagon back in the 70’s.

“If you and I could get it up those steps, surely you and your buddies can get it down the steps.” he says, brave words from a 90 year old who probably would try to get it down himself if I let him. I haven’t the heart to tell him that it’s still there because I know once it comes off the veranda it will be sold, and never go back in the cottage, never again warm me on those cold winter nights. I still think about revamping the cottage to make it fit, to satisfy the insurance industry clearances.

It’s hard to part with old friends…..

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