When outfitting a rustic cabin, it is important that everything be representative of those earlier memories of coal-oil lamps, wood stoves, and rag-braided rugs.
And when that cabin is only 12’ x 16’, it becomes equally important to concentrate on a simple décor to keep the walls from closing in. So I am really glad I had that old futon in the basement that so beautifully replicates an old Winnipeg couch. And I am really glad we have a lovely old wood stove. I am also glad we have a small table and simple chairs.
So the cabin is cozy and comfortable, and surprisingly roomy. A lovely place to light a fire and have a cozy nap.
But I still think about other things that are missing. And what I think about most often is the little tin match holder that hung near the stove when I was the kid. Other things on the walls were rotated. Stained pictures pulled down and replaced. Calendars recycled that marked the passing of time. But the little match-holder stayed and stayed – for a lifetime. And so, often when I am in the cabin, I think about how much I need a little tin match-holder.
But then, low and behold, I was in a hardware store and what did I find? A little metal match-box holder. It was a small plate glazed with blue and white enamel like old tin cups used to be. A rectanguler match-box holder of the same material was secured in the middle. And on that, was the upper half of a little tin-man, crudely painted with yellow shirt and a brown hat as if standing behind a counter and in his hand he held a ordinary wooden match.
It was no work of art. It was crudely constructed, but in my youth, such things were often crude. And I expect the crudeness of the thing, just made it more appealing.
Still I rotated it in my hands for a time while contemplating if it would fill the need I had for rustic match-box holder. When I finally decided to buy it, and took it to the counter, it was four minutes past closing time. The clerk, with hat and coat thrown over the counter, glared at me, then his watch, and then at me. And if looks could kill, his watch would have stopped abruptly.
I apologized profusely while trying to hurriedly dig out the money for my purchase. But as is so often the case, hurry only causes further delay. And that is exactly what happened. In my flurry, I dropped my car-keys. I didn’t even see what direction they went so while on my hands and knees searching for them, the clerk bagged my purchase and with loud foot taps and deep huffing sighs of impatience, waited for me to pay him.
Eventually I got myself in good order. Car-keys retrieved, payment made, bag in hand, and out the door I went with the clerk’s shoes treading on my heels and his breath still huffing in disgust down the back of my neck.
But even that could not spoil my excitement over my new-found treasure.
And now, I will try desperately to keep myself together while I tell you the rest. I hurried home and called Hub to the kitchen to show him what I had bought. I pulled my purchase out of the bag only to find it had changed. I didn’t see it happen, but I know what happened.
Here I should tell you that the impatient clerk has a well-known reputation for his lack of civility toward smokers. This man is at the forefront of anything that can negate smokers’ rights. He doesn’t hug trees, or children, or pets. His only mandate is to campaign against smokers even if it means going into hideaways in back alleys to confront them.
And so while I was scrounging down on the floor for my car-keys, he snapped off the end of the little tin-man’s match on my match-holder and replaced it with a small candy and a gob of quick-dry goo.
I am pissed, and don't I have a right to be?
Hub fails to understand the thrill it gave me when I found that little match-holder. He laughs, and I could bloody wring his neck. Like where is the humor in this? They both need help – he and that brain-dead clerk.
I would have happily repaired the thing some way. Returned it to its original state with a new match and goo, but by then the fire had died out in the cook stove. I woke up to find the cabin was getting uncomfortably cool and with only a candy on a stick to restart the fire, there was no point in staying in the cabin any longer.