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Leading Innovation for Over 80 Years

Drafty Windows - By Tim Cotton
Drafty Windows - By Tim Cotton

My first house was built in 1865. So it was about 100 years old when I was born, and aged gracefully while I grew up. The deed became mine when in was in my mid-twenties. I always told people the place had been pre-owned. A lot. We bought it in the fall of the year; the heat source was only wood. Two Vermont Castings iron stoves belted out a creaking, crackling song as hardwood became smoke, ember, and ash. The wind whistling through the old window frames and loose panes as sparsley insulated walls gave those stoves all the oxygen they needed for a good burn. Strategic sitting was required to avoid a draft on your neck or your ankles; usually at the same time. I was young, broke, dumb, and happy. My lady-friend, later to be called Mrs. Cotton, was a scavenger of formerly well-loved furniture. She found a good used couch and chair; both were uncomfortable. She was finishing her degree and stopped by from time to time to replenish the bare cupboards or throw up an antique mirror or three that she found in yard sales. She loved to reflect on a bargain. Some of those mirrors were later found to be valuable. She had a good eye for everything but men. God bless her. I didn't care as having all the lovely mirrors and minimal furniture allowed me an unimpeded view the off-white lace curtains dancing smartly in other rooms as the wind blew right through the ancient plaster and lathe walls. Winter nights, like tonight, were blistering cold in the old place and I had a regimen of adding wood to one of the two stoves about every two and a half hours. This gave each stove about a 5 hour burn time. One in the living room, and one in the dining room; I slept on a mattress on the floor in the corner of the dining room. I say dining room, but there was no table for a while- which must have made it a bedroom. I had shut off the upstairs for the winter because, well, there was no reason to add running up and down stairs to the endless stoking of stoves. My companion on those nights was a black and white Redbone Hound/ Labrador-mix named Jackson. I picked him up at the mall, back when people would sometimes bring a...

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