Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melodie Beattie

We had a taste of spring in Western Massachusetts this past week. For me, spring and summer means ironing, considering I like wearing cotton clothing in the warmer weather. Wednesday, as I was ironing my first few items for the season, I was reminded of how I used to have to use a gas iron when I was growing up. There was literally a blue flame inside the iron, which I could turn up or down, depending on how hot I wanted the iron to be. I hated that gas iron — besides it being hard to regulate, the fumes were constant. In the summer the heat coming out of the iron, along with the smell of the fumes were enough to make me want to wear wrinkled dresses.

The gas iron wasn’t half as bad as the smell of the oil stove. Our house was constantly filled with fumes, either gas from the iron and lanterns, or else from the oil stove. And there was nothing so bad as when the oil stove would “burn out” when we weren’t paying attention to how much kerosene was left in the tank. The pungent, smoky smell was enough to suffocate someone. In the winter we had to open windows to let the smell out, no matter how cold it was. Then someone would have to take the tank out and fill it. It was hard to keep it from spilling over, and cleaning up a kerosene spill is no fun. No wonder I prefer an electric range to a gas one — I breathed in enough fumes when I was growing up for two lifetimes.

I finished ironing my skirt on Wednesday morning, then I got dressed and headed off to work, all the while thinking how different my current lifestyle is from that of my childhood. I find it’s important for me to occasionally remember the details of my childhood, so that I don’t take anything for granted. For me the opposite of taking something for granted is to be grateful. And that is exactly what I was feeling as I got dressed, took my (MY!) car keys, and drove to work, listening to Mozart’s joyful music along the way. People say we should count our blessings, but sometimes there are too many to count. That’s when I feel that my cup is brimming and running over.

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2 thoughts on “Fumes”

  1. I just found your blog through Amish America! I’ve always been interested in the Amish, in fact, I have an Amish penpal who I’ve been writing for about 5 years. It was been a wonderful friendship! I’ve learned alot about their faith and everyday life through her letters.

  2. What a lovely post! I cannot imagine how horrible that smell from the stove and iron was to breathe. Just thinking about it is enough to give me a headache. My heart breaks for you as a little girl. Blessings, Joanne

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