Back to the future

Posted on December 4, 2011 by

“Your living room stinks now.”

“Yes, that’s normal when you start up the wood stove. Just open a window and the air will clear. It won’t smoke anymore after this.”

“But the air outside stinks too. All of your neighbors’ chimneys are smoky. This place would be a nightmare for anyone with asthma.”

I give a deep sigh. “I know. They burn all sorts of junk, I suppose, and use chemical starters instead of kindling. Our stove is the only one not giving off grey smoke around here.”

My mother stares out the window at the smoking chimneys for a moment. “This is like when I was a child. Everyone burned wood or coal, and then we became wealthier and heated with oil or gas.”

“Yes, I know. Everything old is new again. Oil and gas are so expensive, you know. Now people heat with whatever is cheap and handy.”

“I know. Food is so expensive now too. I didn’t notice that when I was still working, but now that we’re trying to get by on one income I notice it. The government says inflation is low.”

“Yes, they do say that.” We exchange a look. “Everything old is new again. Back to the future.” And then we chuckled and she gave me her father’s tips for stacking kindling.

It was a good day. Family together. Some old things were better.