What could be more homey and cozy than the words "tea-kettle"? Blame it partly on an early over-exposure to The Hobbit, what with Bilbo Baggins's longing for the kettle just starting to sing, but I believe there's a wider truth to be told: a tea-kettle might represent one of the great heights of human progress.
Big whup about Danish modern design or flat-screen televisions or GPS-enabled-mobile devices when compared against the ability to hot up water quickly -- and in such a neat, contained manner!
I tap the big red lever at the base of the power-cord to start the current flowing from the wall outlet, grab the heavy black handle to heft the works to be sure I am not heating three tablespoons of water. I can walk away and wait for the grumbling drum-roll that announces the boil, or I can tune my ear to the distinctive click of the kettle shutting itself off. Is the sound metallic or does it sound like old melamite? Both -- and also like peace and civilization.
Within a very short time (watched or not) the water has boiled and I am free to make a cup of tea, or brew a cup of coffee with my Melitta filter, or prepare instant oatmeal, or fill a hot-water bottle, or sometimes, simply sip on warm water. Warm water can be a comfort.
Consider too, how the addition of the slightly retro word "electric" adds a layer of charm to the phrase. Everything these days is "electronic" or "digital" or "wireless," with the power of electricity taken for granted. But an electric tea-kettle -- that IS a miracle.
There is no kindling to split, no heavy three-footed cauldron to heat over a campfire, no coal fire to stoke, and no pot merrily boiling itself dry over the gas flame. Instead this shining exemplar of the glorious mid-Century American manufacturing tradition, a Platonic ideal* of a tea-kettle that sports a wide, shining body and a generous triangular spout. No sketchy Chinese steel or soft plastic to degrade, no digital read-outs to break. It's been going strong for three, four, five? decades.
Just in case inspiration strikes, I like to have a notebook and a writing implement close to hand. Which is how we have a fairly complete documentation of road-kill from a recent road trip. Why document road-kill? Well, that's another category of answer...
Regardless the scrumptious morsel of cheese I just handed over with her medicine hidden inside.
Nope, doesn't seem to matter. Perhaps this last trip was too much for her faith. After all, we were gone more than two weeks, bounced home for a single night, and were gone again for a couple of days. A small dog, evidently, has a limit. She loves visiting Uncle Markie -- his kids mean that there is abundant food droppage, she gets to go in the car, and wherever they end up, she kind of rules the roost. Plus her religion has proven flexible before.
So now, she is walking away from me when I sit on the floor to indulge in a little belly-rubbing. She's got her glowing bug-eyed gaze tracking Mr. Linton and she barely glances at me.
She is pinning her belief on men, perhaps, having been abandoned by one woman after another.
It's sad but true: her mysterious first owner who went into nursing care and whose daughter (I picture a sort of Snidely Whiplash female) could not stand the small dog; my mom; and now, repeatedly, me. The first time I returned from a long trip solo, I found her cuddled on the couch with my husband, belly to the sky, the expression on her flat face one of vague befuddlement: "I thought you died!"
I find I am not a smiting-and-brimstone kind of deity, at least in my non-fiction life. But it does kind of sting. Sharper than a serpent's tooth and all that.
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