The title to my blog might mystify some of my readers but maybe there are a a few that still remember ‘sawdust burners’. We had one in our kitchen when I was a ‘kid’. The ordinary black-topped stove had a large metal bin on one side that actually ate sawdust. The sawdust flowed down, feeding the fire below and heating the adjoining stove. It actually worked very well and I ate many a meal that was cooked on that very stove.
Storing the sawdust was a bit more of a challenge and we had a spare room in the basement that contained the sawdust (and a chute outside that when opened allowed the sawdust to feed into the room.) I am sure it would break all codes and regulations today but no one seemed to be concerned so much about those things years back.
My job as the oldest of the three youngest, was to go to the basement, bring up the sawdust and Mom would pour it into the metal bin. I recall hauling one 5 gallon pail up then eventually being big enough to haul two of them at a time. I was a bit of a tom-boy and loved the challenge.
Sometimes the burner needed fuel in the evening and it was my job to go down to the basement and get it. That meant turning on a series of lights along the way. One evening I inadvertently left on the light in the room with the sawdust…not a good move as the new load that had been delivered the day before, had pretty well filled everything to the ceiling. I don’t know what sent me down an hour or so later but I noticed the light was on and when I went to turn it off I smelled something. Even in those days I had a nose like a blood-hound. I have trouble seeing and hearing but a scent I can pick up anywhere.
When I got Mom downstairs we realized that yes, some sawdust had started to smolder. It was by the grace of God I hadn’t burned the house down. The odd thing is that the house did have a fire years later, when I was long gone. All the upstairs rooms were destroyed, including my bedroom which still holds so many memories for me.
When I look back I can see God’s grace and mercy in so many situations in my life. I must have kept Him busy. I was a precocious child…not mentally but physically … trying out anything. The climbing rope in the gym didn’t stop me (I went right to the top). I helped my uncle put a roof on our two story house. I was small but fearless. And eventually I learned to carry four, yes four, five gallon pails of sawdust to the kitchen, from the garage, where eventually the sawdust was stored as a safeguard from my burning the house down.
It is hard to give up those adventures of the past…now carrying in the groceries is a challenge but God is still keeping watch over me and I think I am still giving Him a few laughs.