It has been bitter cold here this week. I know our bitter cold isn’t as cold as other parts of the U.S. but zero degrees would quality as bitter almost anywhere I think. The sharp winds which knife through you make it seem even colder. Houses are chilly unless you set the thermostat to a bankruptcy-inducing temperature. It’s time to get out the extra sweaters and blankets if you want to be warm.
As I was bathing the other day, I realized hot water also will warm you. It comes gushing from the faucet and warms cold fingers. A warm washcloth against a chilled face is soothing to cold cheeks. Soaking in a tub of hot water not only rids you of aches and pains made worse by the cold but warms you as well.
As I was enjoying the hot water, I remembered my girlhood. Hot water wasn’t so easy to obtain back then. To have a warm bath required heating a bucket of water on the cookstove and carefully emptying it into the bathtub. Even just a basin of water to wash your face and hands required heating the teakettle on the stove.
Laundry was unbelievably hard work. Mom had to heat the wash water in a big wash tub which covered all four burners on the cook stove and then carefully empty it into the washer. Grandma, who lived in the country, heated her wash water in a cauldron over a fire in the back yard.
Somehow I never really appreciated my hot water heater as much as I have this week. It’s just in the basement, going about its job of heating water so I can turn a faucet and enjoy the fruit of its labors. It seems to be an unsung hero of an appliance but I really appreciate and enjoy having it.