Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas everyone! Here in central Indiana we've had a lot of drama in the weather department. It has been cold, rainy, icy, and snowy, all within a week. Just when a white Christmas looked like a sure thing, the rain moved in and washed it all away, replacing the snow with slush and ice. Last night, the parking lots in town more resembled skating rinks than places to park your car. But now, the errands are done, and we are all settled in at home and ready to celebrate Christmas. Here's hoping that you and yours have a wonderful holiday season full of love and promise for the new year!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Fun Day Downtown

It was really cold when we got up this morning--only 7 degrees outside. Thankfully it was a bit warmer yesterday when my friends Diane and Lee and I spent the better part of the day enjoying the "Dickens of a Christmas" event going on downtown. We started the day off with a hot drink and conversation at a coffee house on the courthouse square. We enjoyed relaxing in the upstairs loft, chatting and watching the snow fall, so much that we put off shopping for about an hour. Fortified by our fancy coffees, we finally headed off down Main Street to explore what the local merchants had to offer for the holidays. Despite the snow, it was a lot of fun. Along the way there were carolers, brass bands, and even a hammered dulcimer player sitting in a store window with speakers outside so we could enjoy her quaint music from the sidewalk.

We were supposed to be Christmas shopping, I suppose, but my best find of the day was something I bought knowing I would keep it for myself. I have a weakness for vintage kitchen items, so when I found this unique beauty in one of the antique shops I knew immediately it was meant to be mine. I am a terrible bargainer. My fear of rejection, I suppose, usually keeps me from haggling for the best price. Today, however, I made an offer to the shopkeeper explaining that I don't usually try to bargain, but that I am supposed to be Christmas shopping for others this time of year, and was on a budget, but really wanted this item for myself. Much to my surprise and delight she accepted! What I purchased was a vintage aluminum tea kettle. Actually, it is an "Excel Deluxe Whistling T-Ket-L (trademark)", apparently made before 1949, with a patent number and "Made in Muncie, Indiana" stamped on the bottom. It is in excellent shape. On the front at the base of the handle is a unique feature. It is a little gauge showing how much water is in the pot. Also, I read that the design of the kettle allows it to emit quite a loud whistle when the water has come to a boil. I'm going to have to check that out for myself!

A bit of research on the Internet told me that the T-Ket-L was designed by a man named Jack Reichart who had an appliance manufacturing business until about 1949. In that year a polio epidemic hit the area and the local hospital asked for his help in making iron lungs. It seems the hospital had only one iron lung, and about 30 polio patients. Mr. Reichart did his homework, and with the help of local people who donated materials, built his first iron lung in only about one day. I bought the tea kettle for its appealing and unique design, but knowing the story of the man behind it, and the fact it was manufactured in my home state of Indiana, makes it all the more special to me.

Here is the view from my front porch today. The sun is bright today, but it is still only 17 degrees. I think this will be a good day to stay inside and enjoy some hot tea. Hmmm, sounds like a good opportunity to try out the new T-Ket-L.