A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story Volume 15: Fires Of A Home

(A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story Volume 15: Fires Of A Home is a work of fiction presented by DependableFlame.com)

Another Chance(Ordained) Meeting

Elston had recognized the lighter the second he’d caught a glimpse of it in the man’s hand as he offered Elston the flame. When he carried plastic disposable butane lighters, they used to disappear on him all the time but that problem had not plagued him so much since he’d begun carrying vintage refillable petrol lighters. In fact, he couldn’t recall losing a single lighter in all that time.

Of course, losing a lighter is one thing and having it stolen away from you on purpose was quite another. A cheap, plastic lighter could seem part of the scenery like the pen you picked up to sign a check at the bank or your name at the post office that ends up in your pocket rather than back on the counter where it belongs.

A quality made fire making gadget like the Rollalite however, didn’t get lost in the hand as its craftsmanship made an individual take note and study it, check out its lines and see what it was all about. No, it was hard to imagine that someone could walk off with such quality craftsmanship in their pocket without realizing it.

The bigger issue on his mind at the moment though was the homeless man’s retort about needing a place to live. Elston was not trying to be cavalier about the man’s plight and he certainly was not trying to offer him a luxury when he actually needed a lifeline.

He had an idea though, that could be just what the old bearded man needed. He aimed his mind in that direction and tried to push the elegance of the Dunhill Rollalite to the back of his mind as he wondered if the man recognized him from their interaction in front of the dispensary the day that Elston introduced himself.

Carrying Each Other

Elston fought the urge to ask the man if there was any chance he recalled how he came into possession of the lighter. It just wasn’t important right now and perhaps it never would be but the thought continued to tickle the corners of Elston’s mind as he puffed on the joint the old man had helped him light and he ran him and his dog through the scenario he hoped could help them though Elston was uncertain if the dog could be a deal-breaker.

Photo by AR on Unsplash

He had heard from his son Justin about a woman who was running a mission to the homeless out of an abandoned church in a nearby suburb. Elston knew she was operating a food pantry for the homeless and was hospitable to help those with nowhere to go but was quite in the dark about any accommodations she might have for overnight or extended lodging. The warming of the weather left many homeless without shelter this time of yr.

Elston popped open the hatch to the back of the Jeep Renegade and began attempting to coax the dog to jump up and in as the man piled his things from the grocery cart into the back of the vehicle. The dog settled into protecting his master’s belongings that were all kept tidy, tied up in dust-worn plastic shopping bags, stacked and piled onto each other.

“Where exactly we headed?” the homeless man queried as Elston maneuvered the Jeep down the street in the direction of their destination.

“Midwest City,” Elston answered as he took one last long toke from the marijuana cigarette and dropped it into a mostly empty energy drink can that set in the cupholder. “It’s not more than fifteen minutes east of here. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think it was part of the same town. Just an isolated corner of Oklahoma City.”

“I don’t really know the area,” the homeless man said. “I got off the bus at 5th and Hudson about seven months ago I think. Haven’t been beyond a radius of a couple miles since…”

Finding One’s Mission

Elston had been banging on the door for what seemed like at least five minutes and was about to doubt the validity of his plan altogether when he peeked around the corner of the building and saw the soup line that included dozens of people formed at the back of the church building. Maria was ladling out soup and addressing each individual as they stepped to the front of the line and thanked her for the meal being provided.

Photo by Sashank Saye on Unsplash

There was a sweaty looking pre-teen boy who kept shoving is face into the tub of ice that was keeping the bottled waters cold and fold-out picnic tables plenty enough for all to have a seat while they dined on the navy bean and scrap meat soup that she was serving. Elston joined his homeless friend at the back of the line as it seemed more appropriate than stepping to the front of the line simply to ask a question about what accommodations she could offer.

When the line was down to no more than two or three people between Elston and his friend and the soup, Maria clanged the ladle loudly against the empty pot and gave an unintelligible cry in the direction of the only visible door to the back of the church. Quickly and with a purpose, a spotless looking man adorned by a white chef’s outfit appeared with a stock pot just slightly smaller than the previous soup pot, sat it down and whisked away with the empty pot as he dropped the ladle in the new one.

Maria’s eye caught Elston’s as she was serving the brittle, spaced out looking young woman in front of them and he opened his mouth to introduce himself before being cut off by the homeless man whom he’d brought there. “Do you have enough for a couple more, ma’am?” Elston’s companion inquired. “My name is Weary Traveler and this is my friend Elston James. The first time we met I stole his lighter from him but today he brought me here to see if you could help me.”

(Please leave any comments, questions or suggestions in the comments section of this or any other page at DependableFlame.com. This is a work of fiction and any similarity of the characters or situations herein to those that have happened in real life should be seen as coincidental.)

Author: Joseph

Be cautious when anyone tells you what you need or have to do...

10 thoughts on “A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story Volume 15: Fires Of A Home”

  1. The Wisdom of every story of our daily lives in this beautiful universe is to Give our hearts and minds to the brothers and sisters in need, no matter what race or country you come from. Every physical condition is like a blessing to the homeless person because you don’t know the hardship that brought them to this sad condition. Any material thing would be helpful in their lives to brighten their spirit and day. 

    1. I appreciate your insight Sojiel and thank you for taking the time to read the story and share your comment here. I agree with you about giving and sharing with others and the Bible is very clear including the words of Jesus Himself who said that if you’ve done a kindness to the least among us in His name that you have done that kindness to Him. We are all prone to get sidetracked and worry about the individual problems that happen in our own lives but serving others is when believers are most like Jesus.

  2. Every time I read your story, there is a lesson or two to learn from Elston. He is such a good-spirited man. He is always ready to lend a helping hand. Weary Travelers’ mindset is worth commending. He was open and did not hide that he stole Elston’s lighter at their first meeting point. An indicator of Elsons’ taste for quality.

    1. Thank you Parameter and I appreciate you being so faithful to always check out the latest installment of Elston James and his journey through life that we are calling A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story. Your comment is on the point though because I think Elston is trying to do the right things and be where God has called him to be and sometimes there is a lesson to be learned in his circumstances. Some times is just a funny story to tell!

  3. Hello, Dependable Flame! I just finished reading your story about A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story Volume 15: Fires Of A Home. And I have to say, I am always excited to read your articles. You have such a way with words and how you captivate your audience with your stories. 

    This story really hits home for me, not that I have personally ever experienced life hardships or those of homelessness. I have never been homeless. But, I used to work for my local Salvation Army. I worked in the “sorting room,” a room where someone stands all day taking in boxes and bags of the many random items people drop off at their local Salvation Army location, and they have to be inspected a little for damage, or the smell of smoke from cigarettes, etc.

     Anything that is salvageable gets priced and is set out on store shelves. Anything not salvageable goes back into a recycle bin and off to the rubbish collection center. It was actually a job I quite enjoyed. I felt a little out of place sometimes though, while volunteering there, some of the others who volunteered there would invite me for lunch at the soup kitchen was resided next door to the Salvation Army store. 

    I knew for some of these volunteers, this was maybe the only decent meal they might get, which they didn’t have to pay anything for. Usually, I would offer to help serve the lunch meal since they were planning to help feed me lunch as well. Or I would leave a donation with them after lunch because otherwise, eating there for free when I was someone who came from a middle-class home and family just seemed wrong to me. 

    But, what I really treasured from being a volunteer at Salvation Army, were some of the stories from people, old and young. We had volunteers who were working off community service hours after having been released from prison who were a little older than me at the time, we had older folks in their 50s and 60’s+ who were just needing some sort of job to pass the time in their day. 

    We also had folks who volunteered just because they were trying to get a job, and they had nothing on their resume because they had been on EI or couldn’t work at one time due to a specific reason or rather. Volunteering allowed them to have at least one job on their resume which showed initiative to potential employers who might consider hiring them. 

    As someone who at the time was in their early teens, I can say some of the stories I heard from all of my co-workers, were stories where someone went from having absolutely nothing in their life to pulling up their bootstraps and taking initiative, getting a good job, sticking with it, and being able to be a productive member of society and be able to afford some of the things we often taking for-granted as middle-class folk. 

    Like being able to go to the grocery store, and not have to worry so much about what we’re picking out, because we know we can afford it. Some people don’t have that luxury. Or not having to choose between eating this week, or paying your rent that was due a week ago. 

    Other stories I heard, would absolutely make you shed a tear. From true dirt poor poverty to homelessness, to not having a single person in your life that you could trust, or lean on for support financial or emotional, etc. It was truly heartbreaking what some of our volunteers went through. 

    It was a really eye-opening experience and a really beautiful one too. I came to know and appreciate every single person who volunteered in Salvation Army. I often attended little events they would host as well. They used to host a little Sunday get-together at a church nearby, and we’d all share a meal, they’d have someone playing live folk or gospel-hymn music, and the children would be up dancing with the musicians and singers, then they’d venture outside after the meal to play a game of soccer or something. 

    It was a really great experience overall. And your story brought the lovely memories of those moments back to me in an instant. I’m so glad I had that experience. Thank you for reminding me of those truly cherished moments. 

    Fantastic story as always Dependable Flame! Can’t wait to see what you write about next!

    1. Thank you Cal for stopping by to read the article as always and to leave such a kind and thoughtful comment. I especially am thankful for you sharing your insights into the work of the Salvation Army as the organization had a big impact on my life because my son entered rehab with the SA and has been clear of the drug problems that plagued him for many years now. I know that they have many people working in their stores who are or were involved in drug rehab through their shelters but had never heard of people just working there to volunteer before. I sounds like it was a worthwhile experience for you and I am thankful to learn of it.

  4. Hi there, Joseph.

    Thank you for sharing this amazing, thought-provoking story. I was pulled into the emotion right from the beginning. The Title “A Vintage Petrol Lighter Story” is very captivating, and the characters and setting are so raw and real. I could feel the warmth, honesty and kindness of humanity.

    p.s. This story made my day.

    1. Thank you Rachele, I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and read the story. I am also very glad to read that the story touched you so deeply. I hope you will continue to check back and frequent the site to keep up to date on the latest installments of Elston’s journey through life as he works on and acquires various vintage petrol lighters and also the people and situations that he comes into contact with on a regular basis. I hope his adventures are enjoyable to read!

  5. What a great read. Elston has such a kind heart, and my guess is that he suspected that Weary Traveller had possibly stolen his lighter, but wasn’t going to ask outright. Yet, he is sympathetic enough to take the homeless man to the soup kitchen, to try and find accommodation for him and his dog. 

    Weary Traveller is not trying to hide the lighter, but instead admits that he has stolen it from Elston. Did he then return the lighter to Elston? I hope to read the outcome in the next episode. 

    1. Hey Linè, thank you for stopping by again and I really appreciate you leaving such a nice comment. I think that Elston has an inkling that Weary Traveler may need the lighter more than he does and doesn’t mind showing the man this kindness by the way of his silence. I do think we will probably find out sooner or later exactly whether these two men discuss the lighter further or not but it may take a while for the story to bend back around in that direction, We shall see!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.