This beautiful, if somewhat worn and dented, brass kettle sits on my fathers hearth and has been here for many years. I’ve seen it sitting in the same place for so long that truthfully, I hardly see it anymore. Most days, my eyes brush right past, barely noticing it.
I don’t know it’s exact origins but I do know that it came to our family in July, 1914…just as world war one arrived on the world stage. It was a wedding gift to my grandparents Alex and Annie, who were wed in the Parish Church in St. Fergus, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The wedding dinner and party was held in the barn of her parents home at Blackhills Rora and the kettle then sat for several years on the mantle of Alex and Annie’s own home at Thistley Hillock, next door to her parents farm.
I was told many stories as a young girl about the fireplaces in these homes…they were very large and within them sat a big black cauldron where everything the family ate was cooked. Cakes were baked inside the cauldron which became an oven and scones and griddle cakes were cooked on a heavy metal pan that was laid over the top. The family’s life centered around that fireplace and the brass kettle, which was highly prized and never used for anything other than decoration, sat on the mantle, witnessing it all.
I like to imagine that in 1924, it was lifted gently from it’s place of honour and carefully wrapped and placed in a trunk which would have been hauled by horse and buggy to the nearby town of Peterhead. Here, along with a few other treasures, it travelled with the family by train to Glasgow. There, they boarded the SS Marloch, which was bound for Montreal, Canada.
There were a few years when the kettle was kept packed away while the family lived with relatives in this new and foreign country…one very brief year in Edmonton and then again for a short time in Vancouver. It was finally unpacked and placed on their own hearth once again when the family…my grandparents, my mother and my uncle…found their own home in Vancouver, two years after arriving in Canada.
It moved around that area somewhat over the years. In 1979 Annie and Alex, who by then were in their mid-eighties, moved to the interior of BC to live with their daughter. The kettle found it’s latest resting place on my mother’s own hearth and it has sat here…in the same spot…for 33 years.
My mother has been gone for over seven years now and this burnished brass kettle has been in our family for close to a hundred years. It’s come many miles and rested on many hearths, sitting on it's sweet little brass feet. It’s been rubbed, polished, banged and dented yet still has a lovely sheen as it catches the light.
As I sit here looking at it from across the room, I wonder what stories it could tell and what journey's it has yet to take, in our family.
Only time will tell.
We'll be travelling on Sunday...driving over the familiar terrain of high mountain passes and sailing across the Salish Sea to home. We're sad to leave here, yet looking forward to being home again. The bittersweet moments of life are just so, well...bittersweet. Sending huge hugs to you all dear friends on fresh spring breezes...(YES...it's actually warming up here, finally!)