The Bittersweet Tale of Gervase R. Tinsley and his Convection Oven

With Thanksgiving just around the corner I realized I was in need of something warm and toasty, like, an oven. My husband built his dream house before we ever met. It’s a gorgeous showpiece of form and style, built to his exact specifications. Unfortunately for me, those specifications didn’t include air conditioning or, you know, an oven. I’m hoping a countertop convection oven can at least handle a few biscuits and some roasted Brussel sprouts now and then. I turned to Amazon to research different models when I came across a customer review so heartbreakingly honest that I could barely believe what I was reading.

Gervase R. Tinsley leads the pack with the first review for the Waring Pro TCO650 Digital Convection Oven which he wrote back in 2012. He grips you from the start:

By Gervase R. Tinsley on December 7, 2012

Verified Purchase

I am a 76yo single guy that cooks because he has to and not necessarily because I love it. When my wife was alive and at home, we ate pretty well although rather plain. She had to go into a nursing home last year and passed away 7 months later so I am now living in low income housing on my own for the first time in 40 years. I had a cheap toaster oven (B & D I believe) that died. I read reviews for about 25 or 30 different toaster ovens on Amazon. When I found the reviews for the Waring toaster oven I was highly impressed. Of all the reviews I looked at the ones for the Waring were the best (and the most). Last night I heated up a pot roast (already prepare by Jack Daniels) and it came out perfect & this morning I did a bagle (after I learned the controls) and it also came out perfect. Not being used to these kind of controls, that presents a bit of a learning curve but not unconcorable. Besides, I believe that life is a dynamic experience anyway and, therefore we are on a perpetual learning curve.

This poor man! Is he including all those details about his life in order to establish why he needs the oven? Or is he actually reaching out for human contact through this review, looking for sympathy and comfort about the loss of his wife and his diminished living situation? HIs positive outlook deeply moved me. “I believe that life is a dynamic experience anyway and, therefore we are on a perpetual learning curve.” YES. Thank you Gervase R. Tinsley. I need to remember that more often. I feel badly that he described the food his wife cooked as “rather plain.” I hope he was able to get some enjoyment out of it because otherwise that seems like a rather sad state. I’m happy to think of him now enjoying his Jack Daniels pot roasts.

I was so moved by his review, which he signs Teaneckflask, that I wasn’t surprised when I noticed it had 28 replies. What I couldn’t have imagined, however, was the outpouring of emotion from strangers on Amazon:

JJ says: sorry about the loss of your wife….. thank you for your review and god bless.

J. Luton says: Thank you for your review. I’m glad you are looking at life as a dynamic experience. My condolences on the loss of your wife.

The sympathy notes go on and on. Then there was this:

katherine T. Ohara says:I would like to write a movie based on this review. Thats how informative and personal it was. Never have i read a simple review that gave such a window into ones soul and life experience while convincing me to purchase a product at the same time. Waring should hire you as their spokesman. Thank you for the review good sir and best wishes to you and good luck in your future.

Seeing all these lovely people reach out to this lonely man restored my faith in humanity, as cliched as that sounds. What are the odds that he returned to his review on the Waring oven and saw how deeply he affected complete strangers?

Beonna Hunt says: Gervase, Please update your review. I’d love to hear how your toaster oven is doing 2 years later, and by the comments posted, we would all like to hear how you are doing. I couldnt agree more with them, best review EVER!!!! And I ‘ve read hundreds of reviews.

Sadly Gervase never replied. Another commenter left this:

Alfred J says: Thank you for your review GT. Not only was it informative, but you managed to touch the souls of many. It looks like you have joined your wife, both of you in a happy place. http://www.tributes.com/show/Gervase-R.-Tinsley-95940867

With the news of his passing, even more feel compelled to comment.

Blondegirlfrnd says: Thanks for sharing this. Wow. I just wanted an oven, not a reminder of the fragility of life, but the stark reminder that there is more to life than buying stuff was necessary.

E. Smith says: So sad to hear of this insightful mans passing… great review and such an inspiration. Rest in peace.

Ellen Le says: This review made me and my boyfriend burst into tears. We will definitely be buying this toaster oven.

daniel foster says: i know hes in heaven with his wife….and they’re making wonderful snacks in their toaster oven. his review brought tears to my eyes.

Making snacks in heaven together, that one really got me. The internet can be such a shitty place with anonymous haters wreaking havoc on anyone who dares to put themselves out there. Finding this little pocket of humanity was just what I needed to feel truly grateful this Thanksgiving. I bought the damn oven. This Thursday I’ll be cooking up a (tiny) feast and toasting to Gervase R. Tinsley, his wife, and the surprising kindness of strangers.

Gervase R. Tinsley

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