Friday, January 2, 2009


I brought out an old oil lamp the other day that we had stored in an effort to bring into our home some ambiance and a little old-fashioned feeling of nights long ago.

Before I could officially light my lamp, I needed wicking and tried several stores to no avail. A couple of days later, my dad gave me a piece that he just happened to have. (Dad is an extremely self-sufficient man and is totally prepared for any disaster that may ever come upon him or us. He has three bug-out bags in his truck alone.) I was so excited to finally get to try out my light, so home we went.

What I thought would be a simple process turned into a much longer one. The turner (don’t know the correct term) I found out doesn’t turn, so it took me forever to get the wick threaded through the wick slit. A half an hour later, with sore fingers to boot, I got the material up enough to where I could grab it with two skewers and pull it all the way through the top opening. Excited, I lit the wick only to have the kitchen fill promptly with a large cloud of blackened smoke.

Another soaking of oil to the wick and another 20 minutes of threading the last bit of wicking through, I attempted once again to burn my beautiful oil lamp. I had thoughts of reading at my table by lamplight, while visions of pioneer homesteaders danced in my head…I struck the match, lighted the lamp, and voila, another cloud of black smoke filled the kitchen air! Of course, I had already opened the back door and kitchen window previously to air the room out from the first cloud of darkness. Once again, I hurried to open up the house to let the black smoke out and the cold winter air in.

Hoping to squelch the flame a bit, I very carefully took the chimney to place it back on the lamp. While doing this, however, I missed a prong, and down it went, crashing into a million…well maybe 50…pieces all over the floor and table.

So, no more wicking, no more chimney, and a pretty little half lamp are all that remain of my old-fashioned re-enactment of nights long ago.

I was able, between clouds of black smoke and pre-chimney explosion, to snap a couple of pictures…

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