I was concentrating on the people at the wedding shower and didn’t think much about the surroundings. I knew how people on the groom’s side were related, but I needed a family tree for the bride’s family. We were in farm country, so things were a bit different. The hostess leaned out of the front door and invited us to enter through the garage. My eyes opened wide when the first thing we saw was a large farm tractor. Skirting it, we heard the reason. It’s a farm, so no one walks in without removing his shoes. You never know what you might have stepped in. I was glad I didn’t have holes in my socks.
Indoors was elegance you most certainly would not associate with a farmhouse. There were cabinets of fine china, huge works of art on the walls, and the most up-to-date kitchen you could dream of.
Our exit was equally different. When it was time to go, I was sorry I was wearing sneakers and couldn’t just slip my feet in and walk away like the others. The owner pulled an office chair over for me to sit in and stood there holding it so it wouldn’t tip over. He was on his way to the furnace and asked niece Caroline to guard the chair. Boy! Did that make me feel old!
He proudly showed us the furnace as we walked around the tractor. We peeked in to see half a tree merrily burning, heating the thousands of gallons of water that flowed through the house, the barn, and outbuildings. He explained that he couldn’t see the sense of walking out in the snow and ice, and that’s why he built it inside the garage. The light bulb went on in my head. In North Carolina people have outdoor wood furnaces that work exactly the same way, only we can see them from the road. Stoking in bare feet would not be an option. The man said he feeds the fire twice a day in the winter and once a week in the summer. You could see Yankee ingenuity at work on that farm.