Elmer was somewhat of an inventor. In the days when one had to feed and "stoke" a convection, coal-burning furnace, he rigged a wind-up alarm clock to go off early each morning. Instead of making a sound, it would release a string and drop a counter-weight to open a draft-door, close the damper, and fire up the furnace automatically. When it was time to get out of bed, the house would be warm. But that had not been installed in 1932, so the gift of slippers would keep Blanche's feet warm as she went to the basement to "trip" the furnace dampers.
A lifetime of Elmer Riggins'
Christmas poems from long ago
Annotated (in italics) by David Rathgeber