They walked in and looked like characters out of a book. They had common names. But uncommon in their looks. Well common if you're from the deepest woods of northern Wisconsin. Both were thin. Looked like they were in their late-40's or maybe just had their 50th birthday. She had a well-worn fleece shirt with a thread-bare shirt underneath. Her hairstyle worked really well in 1978. He had a cap that covered (I'm guessing here) a mostly bald top with straggling gray hair that reached the collar and maybe even below. They came to look at our wood stove.
You see there's this fantastic tax credit if you buy a wood stove before the end of this year. So the Chairman got down to business and started to do full-force research. That isn't a burden to him. He loves to research things. After some time, he narrows down the choices to two models of a manufacturer. That's where J&B (names not given to protect their identity) step in the picture. They drove approximately 40 miles in snow to come make a suggestion as to which stove to purchase to replace our current one.
And do you want to know what happened? He walks in and pauses. Oh you have a Vermont Castings! It's a Vigilant model. Yes that's true. He turns and says, 'did you know this is the best model they ever made?'. Um. No. "She's a beauty" (I guess our stove is a girl then.) Then he proceeds to measure and sweat over the stove (literally) as he's checking out pipes and measurements and brick work and other important elements in replacing a wood stove. Then he starts in again. Wow, this is a nice stove. It looks like it hasn't been used all that much. It sure puts out a lot of heat doesn't it? Boy, this one could last another 10 or 15 years the way it looks. Then he continues to measure and tell all the reasons why it would be prohibitive right now to replace it. There's pipe issues. And adding an additional row of bricks to stay within code. And thus and such. Then he turns around and says, "I think this one is really nice."
So.... Mr. J who came up to sell us a new wood stove has now just convinced us to not replace it. Wow. He gives some suggestions on what works to give optimum heat for our particular model. He and Mrs. B. proceed to get their shoes back on. And then I'm feeling sorry. For them having to drive back home in a now heavy snow. They didn't sell a stove. In fact, we weren't going to give them even a dime. Because he said we didn't need to. As he walked by the island he saw six loaves out of the oven. Wow. That looks so good. I haven't had homemade bread in such a long time. Say! Could I send you home with a hot loaf? Please? Don't wrap it tight as it's still hot. The grins were like the Grinch's. It ran all across their faces. And so they left. With a loaf of bread. And no sale. And they seemed happy for it.
We are happy too! Even though there would be savings by purchasing now, we really saved by not doing anything. The stove is toasty and right where it belongs. And now I'm up for names. Since Mr. J. referred our stove to a "she", I think a naming contest is in order. I was thinking we could call her "Hottie" or maybe "Hattie (not so risque!) the heater. Or???
Just goes to show you. Beneath their facade of back-woods northern roots, there's a pleasant honesty. It left me with a warm feeling (pun intended).