Almost fifty years ago, the stove came to us from Adam and Eve, not directly but through Nellie over in Kiowa, the once frontier town where cowboys gathered and Indians raised deadly hell protecting their homeground. It seems the stove had been around this short-grass prairie hangout for many years for on the cast iron side stood the year 1885. No doubt, it rode the rails on the now long-gone tracks and then headed overland on a horse drawn wagon as it wound its way to some far ranging ranch. Who knows what families sat comfortable around the stove as it glowed from the fragrant Ponderosa, and the more subtle but exotic Cottonwood.
The stories we were told back then, back those fifty years ago, would certainly let one’s mind see wandering Native Americans drop by some isolated, almost desolate ranch house to sit there in warmth while outside the autumn chill crept in.
When Adam and Eve purchased the stove remains a mystery, but we first saw it proudly sitting in the middle of their small home, there on the dusty Main Street in Elizabeth, Colorado those many years ago. The wood smoke lifted from the stack and drifted over the town casting about the sweet and alluring sent of the local pines, the fragrance of the Wild West.
In the early fall the wild Sunflowers bloomed along with the Chamisa and sage, adding another subtle odor to the surrounding grasslands and community.
One day, as they say, the stove had moseyed out of town and been replaced by a more convenient, less aesthetic gas stove. Some said, this was due to the aging couple’s accumulating years, and to neighborly fears of uncontrolled fire. Still, Adam and Eve lived their peaceful life as they had which included moving about their modest home quite naked. The community simply said little other than to give the couple the moniker we all knew. Not long later the duo, brother and sister it was learned, moved to the springs, newer, younger, more modest occupants with curtains moved in and that tick of time disappeared into the prairie night like the last of the buffalo, which ironically occurred about the time the stove arrived in Colorado.
It turned out Nellie in Kiowa got the stove and quickly put it up for sale as a token to the past, an antique of sorts, but still pristine and useful, one waiting for newly-arrived pilgrims that might once more heat a home with all the Ponderosa now going to ground. So, with wild eyes on visions of the old west, and a good nose for a subtle but penetrating warmth, the stove became ours, and with it stories of our own, and imagined stories of its wandering life on the short-grass prairie. .
This is the same stove that to this day is the center of our living room and in a winter way, the center of or lives as it was for others years ago.