Just A Snuggly Little Morning!

Yes, it snowed during the night!

It’s not exactly a winter wonderland, but there is a covering of snow on everything here in Crazeysburg.  Mostly, it’s just super cold here today. The high will be 23 degrees Fahrenheit. So I’m happy to just sit here at my desk today and write — and  drink coffee. The laundry is already well under way…

I’m expecting just a really nice, quiet day.

If you saw the photo I posted the other day of the remains of the old coal bin under the basement stairs, it won’t surprise you to learn that this house is old enough to have had fireplaces in every room.  The dining room still has a fireplace, but it’s only decorative now — it was boarded up a long time ago.

The boarded-up fireplace in the dining room — another room that only the cats use because I rarely ever set foot in there!

The fireplaces that were in the two bedrooms are completely boarded up and plastered over, still, you can see where they used to be. I love trying to imagine what the rooms were like when the fireplaces were in them and in active use.

A previous owner had a wood-burning fireplace in the family room, which is now stored out in the barn. (This house was a rental property for several years before I bought it and in Ohio, it’s illegal to have wood-burning stoves in rental units.) (Fire hazards.)

I’ve toyed with the idea of having it brought inside and re-installed. The connection to the chimney is still accessible in the wall, I just have it covered over with a free-standing bookcase. But honestly — these days, I am never in my family room, either, so it would only be for the cats. Plus, I can barely find time to do things like wash my hair and make my bed. I can’t even imagine having to stop whatever I’m doing at my desk and go put more wood in the fireplace. Or — God forbid — have to go outside and bring in more wood when I run out. I just don’t see it happening. Unless I hire some sort of a permanent live-in handyman, or something. You know, to keep things looking as if someone — besides 7 cats — actually lives in here.

However, I have always loved living in places that had fireplaces, working or not. Growing up, we almost always had at least one, if not two, fireplaces in the house. And even in NYC, most of the apartments I lived in had fireplaces. That hellhole tenement on E.12th Street, where I lived for 9 intense years, had two fireplaces — one in the living room and one in the kitchen!! That was too cool. I loved that. The building had been built in 1895, and had been built specifically to house the teeming amounts of poor immigrants on New York’s lower east side, so I’m guessing that was their source of heat for a really long time.

I was the last person to live in that specific apartment before it got “gentrified.” As tenants moved out, one by one, the landlord would cosmetically update each apartment — board-up and plaster over the fireplaces and then lay down new wood floors, to make the floors seem level (which they weren’t– they constantly sloped in the direction of the East River). And then, overnight, they jacked-up the rent astronomically. And, of course, found plenty of people willing to pay for that fake “renovation.”

But as run down as it was when I lived there it sure had character. I loved those old wood floors and those fireplaces, and the old iron bathtub in the kitchen. It had a front door to the living room, and also a back door to the kitchen. And it was filled with spirits — just like this house I’m in now. Friendly and very active spirits, from a hundred years (or more) of lives being lived at whatever intensity. I loved that part about living on E. 12th Street — the spirits of old New Yorkers were so close back then.

But now it’s just gentrified. No character. Just really expensive.

Well, I know, you can’t just live in the past. Progress is usually a good thing. But in America, it’s hard to find places that retain any sort of real character. In order to do that, the people who live there have to work hard at keeping large-scale commerce out.  Fast-food chains and box stores, specifically. Keeping that stuff out really does help keep a place peaceful and sane — and low crime. Plus tons of trees. There are always plenty of tress in areas where they aren’t constantly building something.

Anyway, I like it. And it’s not as if the people here in this little village, in these intensely old, quirky houses, don’t drive nice cars and have smart phones and flat screen TVs. Everyone’s on the Internet.  In fact, one night last summer — it was so funny: everyone was out and taking a stroll, really late in the evening. I mean, like after 10 PM — so many people out strolling. Why? Because the Internet was down! And almost everyone here has the same internet provider. No TV, no smartphones. So let’s just go out and stroll and talk to each other. It was very amusing.

Okay. I’m gonna finish up the laundry and get to work on that last page of the play! Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world and whatever the weather.  Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.

“Our Town”

And you know the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

Up the street beside that red neon light
That’s where I met my baby on one hot summer night
He was the tender and I ordered a beer
It’s been forty years and I’m still sitting here

But you know the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

It’s here I had my babies and I had my first kiss
I’ve walked down Main Street in the cold morning mist
Over there is where I bought my first car
It turned over once but then it never went far

And I can see the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

I buried my Mama and I buried my Pa
They sleep up the street beside that pretty brick wall
I bring them flowers about every day
But I just gotta cry when I think what they’d say

If they could see how the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye
But hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight

Now I sit on the porch and watch the lightning-bugs fly
But I can’t see too good, I got tears in my eyes
I’m leaving tomorrow but I don’t wanna go
I love you, my town, you’ll always live in my soul

But I can see the sun’s settin’ fast
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on, I gotta kiss you goodbye
But I’ll hold to my lover
‘Cause my heart’s ’bout to die
Go on now and say goodbye to my town, to my town
I can see the sun has gone down on my town, on my town
Goodnight
Goodnight

c – 1992 Iris DeMent

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