What Is It For?

What Is It For? March 26, 2019

A bit more than a week ago we finally had the push (my cousin whom I love) to face pulling up the carpet in the basement. The carpet probably needed to come up the minute we moved in to this old and glorious house almost three years ago, but we had other carpet to pull out, and also, what a lot of work.

But then the situation became dire because our stupid tiny dogs, who turn up their noses at going outside into the snow for those awkward times when human people rush to find a private loo, but dogs are expected to go waist deep into the frozen drifts, were sneaking down there when we turned our backs, and fouling up the place even more. The carpet Really needed to come up.

But, you know how it is. The longer it sits there, the less you want to face it. There’s a spiritual lesson in there somewhere but I don’t want anyone to try to tell me what it is. So anyway, when asked how she would like to spend the last day of her visit, my dear cousin said that, more than anything in the world, she wanted to pull out that carpet. The children all agreed because, truly, it has been humiliating. And, because it is Binghamton, and a drive through downtown in the snow exhausted all the site-seeing opportunities, out it started to come. Then, suddenly, a round, rusted metal cover emerged from under the dust and horror.

We opened it up and found this sort of metal spiraling thing.

And then sent the largest child down because, honestly, he was clamoring to go.

But all he found were some empty beer cans. The sides are of a similar sort of rusty metal and the floor is dirt. The mark on the outside is extremely hard to make out.

I’m not technically savvy enough to instagram that into better readability. Someone I showed the picture to said, with total confidence, that it is a high-end ancient coal something or other. That the furnace sat somewhere near by (maybe even over it?) and the coal was pulled up with that spiral thing. But Matt says the mark on the outside includes the name of an old beer company. Other suggestions from facebook include a cistern, a priest hole, place to send bad children, the tunnel to the Stand Firm volcanic lair, and root cellar.

Whatever it is, the animals are all banished from the basement. There is a little baby gate across the stairs now and no canine or feline person is permitted to enter. The dogs now dance around frantically in the way they ought. And the children have had bevies of freinds over without wanting to climb into that—well, hole essentially.

But that’s not all. As we were pulling up carpet I found a bin of knitted items bestowed upon me after the death of my dear great aunt. Wendy and I, pictured here both knitted and normal…

…used to wedge ourselves onto her yarn laden couch in New Jersey and try our hand at the fabric arts. I even knitted a blanket once. But Auntie Kay didn’t just knit a blanket once, she knitted everything all the time. Some of the things make sense. Others of them are truly curious. One asks oneself, “What is it for?”

Wendy made us smile for some pictures but none of those ones came out. Now she has gone home and we all remain here missing all our far flung family, but grateful to be rescued out of our humiliation and despair.

This cat, also banished from the basement, is angry enough to come all the way to the attic to glare out of the window at every passing squirrel and bird.

She wishes it were spring, and so do I. So anyway, what is that thing? Really want to know before we try to figure out what kind of flooring to lay down over it.

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