Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dad's Old Leather Gloves

We started up the wood stove a few weeks ago during a cold spell. We don't burn it every day but we do try to keep mom warm when the temperature dips lower. As always, it brings back vivid memories because the wood stove was dad's department, and he kept it on his turf: the basement.

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I picked up my father’s old work gloves to tend to the firewood. I always use Dad's old leather gloves, though they now have small holes in two of the fingers. My mom isn't sentimental and earlier this year, she bought a new pair of work gloves. She was ready to toss out Dad's gloves when I stopped her.

"Hey, I use those for the wood stove!"

"What? They have holes in them. They're no good anymore."

"They're okay. The leather is still good."

In fact, I loved the feel of the leather. It was ground smooth by the constant contact with white-hot ashes, the course bark and burnt embers. I took them now. The gloves, some dirty shade of faded red, held my own fingers which felt like mere twigs inside as I gripped the warm, matted cotton that once fit my father’s hands so snugly. As I grasped a well-seasoned piece of kindling, I bent my fingers to lift it and noticed deep creased crevasses permanently etched into the gloves where my father’s own fingers had curled around the wood. I threw in a few pieces of firewood and firmly closed the door to the wood stove.

Before I left the basement, I put the gloves aside behind a coke bottle, so that mom would not be tempted to toss them out any time soon.

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