Odd chemical odors were not unusual back then. Dad's machine shop was housed in the basement and garage. He was forever coating, sealing, priming and fusing things with an array of ghastly products, the labels for which were festooned with jolly rogers and deadly warnings.
Hence, Mom wouldn't pay much attention to the acrid smell wafting into the foyer. She'd go about her business of stowing her purse, kicking off her heels and changing clothes--until she'd go to put the meatloaf in the oven, only to find the odor wasn't paint drying, but some weird chunk of oily steel tempering in the Magic Chef.
This phenomenon was never more beautifully manifested than on one fine spring day when Dad decided to heat a steel gear.
When Dad thought the gear had gotten as hot as it was going to get, he donned Mom's oven mitt, reached into the oven and grabbed the gear.
That's when things went south.
He achieved his goal more successfully than he realized. The gear was hot--really hot--so hot that it immediately burned through mom's mitt. As soon as the searing steel touched his flesh, Dad dropped the gear.
The gear fell to the floor where it immediately sunk and burned into the carpet.
Realizing the gear was leaving an eternal gear-shaped brand in front of the oven, Dad reacted by kicking it. The gear had perhaps cooled a bit, but was still incredibly hot. Hence, it landed a few inches from where Dad had first dropped it and proceeded to burn into the carpet there.
"Shit! Shit! Shit!"
Nonplussed, Dad continued to kick the gear several times until he finally grasped the situation (along with a tong), picked up the gear, and tossed it into the kitchen sink.
The final result was an arcing pattern of gears about two feet long. In a subtle artistic note, each gear impression was lighter than the previous one due to the cooling of the steal and Dad's emphatic kicks.
The gear brands remained on the floor for several weeks (or was it months?) until Mom finally got the new linoleum floor she'd wanted since we'd moved into the house (the gear brands may have, in fact, expedited said installation).
Every word of this story is true, and my mother, who is a daily reader of this blog, can corroborate it. That will have to do since all evidence of the gear branded carpet is gone. Oh how I wish I had a photo.
My advice to you, dear reader, is to take as many pictures as you can stand lest one day you shall be remembering your own version of the gear branded carpet story. You will laugh and laugh, until you realize that the people with whom you should be laughing are long gone along with the evidence, just like an echo.
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Today's photos feature Mom and Dad engaging in less indelible kitchen endeavors. Click on any to enlarge.
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