Kitchen Stove Stories

The Old Woodstove

I’ve been living down south for a number of years now (for my sins), and it sure is curious to see how different life is down here from up home.

Well, the first thing is, here, there’s seasons, I guess, but you wouldn’t call ’em real seasons, not the way we had ’em growing up.  Oh, summer here’s the real thing; you can feel the scorch through the walls and hear the heat crackle even over the roar of the A/C.  But back home, when the leaves started turning and there’d be a bite to the (more…)

Old Grizzly Bear

“An empty cab pulled up in front of Congress this morning, and Mike Michaud got out.” Only ever voted the party line. Man’s an empty suit; trained monkeys could have performed better, and I’m glad he got sent back home to Maine.

“Trained monkeys” might be a bit harsh, come to think of it, but as I recall, there was once a grizzly bear that did perform better as a Congressman… (more…)

Book Recommendations

My name’s John, and I’m a recovering bookseller.  (“Hi, John!”)

Running a used book shop was the most satisfying and fulfilling occupation I’ve ever had, and I’ve done a lot of things in my life.  Computer programming and applications design, process engineering, pizza delivery, construction big and small, hooking up live sewer lines, teaching — if it’s low-pay or high-stress, I’ve probably done it.

The beautiful part about selling books lies in matching the book to the person.  So, if you’re a jaded Manhattanite who drinks to keep your remaining humanity crushed down out of sight while surviving day to day in the naked city, I’ll tell you to read Lawrence Block (more…)

Ghosts Around The Fire

My cousin died. He was probably the third-best liar I’ve ever known.

Understand that when I say this, I’m paying one of the highest compliments I know how to, but he’d have probably only accepted “storyteller”, and then only if he thought I’d argue the point. He was one of the best; never drew one out too long, and always good for a laugh. Reminded me always of his father, who I adored. (more…)

Hard Winter Coming

The old year has given the warning signs that it’s about to start winding down to a close.  The nights have a bit more nip in them than usual and the trees are changing color — “catching fire”, as a favorite aunt of mine used to put it, all reds and oranges and yellows.

Around the kitchen stove in the evening, it used to be a competitive sport to foretell the winter, though one you needed gray in your hair (more…)

What’s Faster?

“Which one do you reckon is faster?”  Cousin Terrence posed the question, and despite the interposition of the Internet I thought I could spy the mischief in his eyes.  He’s like that.

It’s one of those questions that inspires some thought, especially considering where it’s coming from.  Now, which one would go faster — jet or bike?  I’m guessing (more…)

Those Little Trees

A lady I know once asked me how many of those little pine trees you’d have to hang in the cellar to hide the scent of a corpse.  Since I was visiting without a chaperone at the time, that question got me to thinking, and once I’d finished my slice of apple pie I thanked her cordially for a fine meal and made my excuses without tasting her mince.

Those pine trees are some powerful, it’s true, but my experience is they just cover things up, hiding them in the olfactory noise (if there is such a thing).  They hide the lesser sins, (more…)