’Round Town


Posted:  Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 8:00am

This time of year really stresses our heating systems.

Most of the year, those of us who heat with oil, never think twice about “The Furnace.”

It’s down there in the basement, or out there in the garage. Asleep, awaiting a call to duty that many of us have taken for granted.

Well, sometimes, when the heating season is upon us, our friendly boiler can be heard shouting for help. With a spin of the thermostat, as the mercury drops, we expect heat surging through our homes, warming the floors, baseboards, bedrooms and bath.

But sometimes the thermostat sends an alarm. A great belch of black smoke. An unpleasant scent of fuel oil. A disturbing rumble. Even, in the unwelcome wee hours of the morning, a deafening silence. The furnace has quit!

For many of us over the years, there’s one solution— CALL BOB! And, if we are lucky, Bob Blackman will find his way home. With a pleasantness reminiscent of the long ago milkman, the van of heat enters the driveway.

We called Bob this winter. Instead of inviting him to sit by the fire and enjoy some fresh brewed herbal tea, I led him to the bottom of the earth, among the spiderwebs, sump pump basin, and abandoned cat litter boxes, into the belly of the beast.

“Well,” Bob said, “let’s see what we’ve got here, let’s take a look.” And so we did.

As Bob removed the external sheet metal furnace cover, I was reminded of another talent Bob Blackman possesses. His hands moved over the internal components of our injured furnace with the skill of a surgeon. I couldn’t help but notice the delicate twist of his tools, a wrench tighten here, a screw loosened there. A finesse about his work. I had seen those movements on stage at the “Opera House” during “Hootenanny” shows as his guitar responded to precision picks and slides and strums.

Our furnace responded to his touch, filling the space with a steady balanced purr. The chord had been struck. Music to our ears.

Thank you Bob.