The house is clapboard, but wallpapered well, floral designs in faded green and faded red still make it seem more solid than it is. The floor is wood planks as well, some having gaps where ends meet, but there is no cold air coming from beneath. The black, pot-bellied stove is rather large for its kind, fed too often, maybe, with a surplus of split oak and hickory sticks, and it fills the room with soft cooking scents and a dry, dry heat. It feels good while I sit in the rocker, slowly moving back and forth, watching my loved one, putting a white, porcelain pan on the tall dark burner. She likes the way the pan and the set it came with matched the white porcelain shell of the old stove that we found in the barn beside our new, but old Kentucky home. The pale blue flames begin to lick the bottom of the pan, and already i can smell the buttered rum cooking. Such a sweet savor, like milky candy, the aroma wraps around my head and thoughts, and endears me to the woman standing there, smiling, tall, happy, her blue flowered dress almost elegant, yet homey, making me fall in love with her, all over again.
She does that to me, makes me fall in love with her, every day. I think I also make her fall in love with me, over again, at times, for often, when the ashes from the stove are taken out and I walk back in with my face covered in the grey dust because of a gust of wind, she cracks an amused grin, and i can see her eyes glint wonderfully, magically. And when I sweep the floor and mop it, without her asking, she gives me extra kisses later that night.
But it is when we go out into the tangled, misty woods, my dark, leather hat and jacket on, and her with her hand woven basket swinging at her side, and we hunt and find the wild ginseng, that she then looks at me with almost wild eyes, like I’m a fantasy character in a romance novel come to life and she can’t wait to get to the pages in the middle of the book where they can no longer restrain their attraction for each other.
The ground is wet and covered with fallen leaves, and smells very much like sweet tobacco before it is burnt; leafy, mellow, and woodsy. Ancient Age, the whiskey, often tastes that way, and that’s why I’ll sip on it once in a while. But right now, being with her is intoxicating enough. They say there are rubies in the streams just a few valleys over the hills from here. I would love to take her there, and explore those streams with her. But if I had found there, the largest rubies ever discovered, I know I’d trade them all for one more day with her.