Harmony County

2011 & 2009 Winner of "Best Humor Column" awarded by the SC Press Association

Ashes, ashes they all fall down

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As I have mentioned before I live in a cottage that is nearly 100 years old. It is nice to have something that is older than I am. There are three fireplaces in it. There used to be four, but somewhere along the line the fourth got covered up. Two of the remaining three are coal burners. Of those two one is functional. The fireplace guy said it would cost $3,000 to get it working. So I have two fireplaces and a brick lined candle stick holder.
Being a hard headed mick, or as those who know me ‘stupid’, I decided I was going to burn coal. This probably goes back to the days when I was a wee buachaill and part of my chores was to haul out the ashes from the furnace we used to heat the house. There’s a clue to my age, yes fire had been discovered.
So coal it is and off I go to get some. It truly is a pain in the neck or slightly lower part of my anatomy. I have to travel to Greenville, over 250 miles roundtrip, to get the coal. Lugging 18 bags at 45 to 50 lbs. each. (Thanks to my grandson, Big Jake for his help in doing most of the grunt work.) Keeping the fireplace clean. An annual inspection and chimney cleanup costs $125. Building the fire properly. But once it is going it is well worth it and the Kilkenny Brothers show their appreciation by camping out in front of it. Two fuzzy lumps napping away with smiles on their faces.
As a rule of thumb I do not build a fire if the daytime high is 54 degrees or more. About ten days ago the temperature finally nose-dived. I built a fire and it was blazing away. Fast Eddie and Lazy Jake were in their duty stations, smiling away, with little piles of kitty-cat z’s all around them. I toasted the occasion with a generous hot buttered rum. Life was good.
The next night was a replay and things were nice and toasty. Then the third time was a charm, a bad luck charm. Smoke came rolling out of the fireplace sufficient enough to make a volcano jealous. In seconds it was so smoky that I could not see the dining room about fifteen feet away. I flew out of my chair and conducted a fire drill of sorts.
I opened every window and door and turned on every ceiling fan. Nothing seemed to help. I separated the coals and waited for the fire to burn itself out. In about an hour’s time I could cross the room without bumping into the furniture. Everything in the house was covered with a thick oily soot. By way of example the Kilkenny Brothers are ginger cats. Now they are black cats and repay my negligence by constantly rubbing up against me. I can no longer wear white socks.
Anyone know where I can get some gas logs cheap? © 2015, Jim McGowan

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Written by harmonycounty

January 22, 2015 at 4:42 p01

Posted in Americana, Humor

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