Dusty Ol' Heater

By Russell H. Glass • April 12, 2014

Dusty Old Heater

I have a heart to help me remember. I remember the dust that I keep. It sounds so abnormal. Captured in the ownership and collectiveness of this dust, it is a reality and a metaphor. It is nothing and everything that may or may have not been. It sits and collects.

I have found myself back home, a ‘new home’, I must say. I have seen everything today & yesterday from under this roof. Many don't get to entertain, enjoy, suffer, or at best allow their selves to stumble from the past to the present. I have returned to every joy, tragedy or triumph that has risen, fallen or hid itself between these walls of my boyhood home.

There is a heater in my bathroom. It has been there from my time of existence. Many an honest person has been at a job, or a place, or somewhere and they have never moved. These are the ones tried and true, stagnate, steady, dependable and ever present. My heater knows this place. Atop the Royal inset wall heater made in Chattanooga, Tennessee, lays the dust. I don't know why I cannot clean it. It allows everything that is come and gone and holds firm for what is mine and ours. I have imagined a reality that some of this dust has never been cleaned since the building of this home in 1957. There may be a deep truth to this imaginary thought.

I face this device created my man and remember the warmth it had always given and the years this heater has seen. Looking up through the cold winters and the glowing embers of its coals, it embarked such a glow of comfort. I remember mom saying, " Let me light the heater, it's shower time"; “but mom it’s cold,”.....”give it a few minutes and all will be fine”....it always was with those simple words.

To most, this is strange, unclean, or intolerable to let such filth allow. I often think of God and the finalities of ‘ashes to ashes and dust to dust’. It seems so poetic. I fear the day someone in their kindness decides to do me a favor and remove such atrocities. My home, my heater, my dust. Please, don't touch it or move it.

"Dad, you are so weird", my son retorts. I have explained this complicated simplicity to my son only to avert to comments, snickers, and finally the understanding from him, and the, “Ok, I get it". Fair enough, I take ownership of this strange ideology and analogy that I have created.

I have dust on the top of my bathroom heater. It has gathered there for years. It is owned by few and appalled by many. It is yours, mine and ours. In remembrance, it is the belonging of my family as a whole. It is my mom’s heater, my dads’, my sister’s and my brothers. We are that simple dust that has collected. It is a part of the history and gift we most often cherish to share—our memories.

…….and my old heater, still kickin’, undusted, and just right with the world.

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