The good kettle.

Today’s prompt: Do you have a memory that’s linked to a smell?

My husband loves tea. Chai tea, green tea, black tea, Sleepytime tea, chamomile tea, you name it. If it’s tea, he’ll drink it. Last month he had a dental appointment and the hygienist, while cleaning his teeth, teased him.

“Somebody sure likes his tea,” she said. Scrape, scrape, scrape.

When he got home, he reported this to me with absurd pride. He smiled at me with both rows of teeth as he put the red kettle on the stove and heated up the water.

Sam painted this in 2020.

We had the red tea kettle for many years. It had a slightly wobbly handle, but we made it work. One year, Sam painted a picture of it at an art pop-up. Every time I look at it, I love it a little bit more.

Last winter, the handle of our beloved red kettle finally fell off and we had to throw it away. That night, Jesse was forced to use “the good kettle.”

The good kettle is a cast iron work of art and it resides on our mantle, surrounded by other small works of art and relics of nature. It’s precious to us and we only use it when we go camping.

But that cold winter night, out of necessity, my man filled the good kettle with water, placed it on the stove and turned on the burner.

A few minutes later, he came upstairs and told me to follow him.

“Connie, come here,” he said. “You’re not going to believe this.”

He led me to the stove. Smoke was gently wafting off the kettle.

“You can smell Rock Island.”

And we could! With each tiny whirl of smoke, we could smell hints of the summer campfires. The scent didn’t fill the kitchen, we had to get close to the kettle, but it was enough to remind us of our favorite place.

“I can’t wait to go back,” he said.

“Me too.”

That winter night, the good kettle not only took us back to our family camping trip; it gave my husband and I a special moment in our kitchen and reminded us that it would only be seven more months until our next trip to the island. Lovely.

Thanks for reading.

That’s the tea,


P.S. Rock Island is a small, remote island in northern Wisconsin / Door County. We camp there every summer.

3 thoughts on “Steeped”

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