Elegy for a Stove

This week we said good-bye to a dear, loyal friend which fed our family for 30 years, having grilled, fried, simmered, boiled, baked and roasted some 40,000 meals, and boiled water for some 100,000 cups of tea. The paint worn to the point we had to guess the settings, the eyes scorched from decades of flame, the oven handle dented and duct-taped and the oven a crusted black hole from which delicious dishes still somehow emerged. The electric clock and timer in the center of the panel went dark a good ten years ago. The eyes became increasingly finicky, refusing to whoosh into flame for anyone except family. "It knows I’m not a Hays!" cried Ruth’s husband Ryan in frustration one day when an eye stubbornly refused to light. Good-bye beautiful old stove, the nourishing heart of our family for so many years.