Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcoming Flames


Throughout history, the fireplace has been the gathering place. Women cooked over the flames in the large hearth, men warmed their weary feet, children held their books to the light doing their lessons. The hearth warmed men as they talked war, women as they did needlepoint and the old dog. Lovers sat looking into the flames and each other’s eyes. Giggling youth vied for a place to roast hot dogs. Families sat warmed by the flames and the presence of one another. The scene is set for memories, for history, for new beginnings in front of the burning logs.
The basement was our refuge. I’ve written about it before, but it bears repeating. It was our family room. Mother didn’t need the light as the old pioneer women did, but she loved to sew in the basement. I think it was her refuge away from the kitchen and chores. Her children played in this room. In fact, we had our wedding gifts displayed on the ping pong table after we opened them surrounded by friends and family in that basement. The room held memories.
I would imagine that this room reminds many of their youth and the times they partied there roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, playing ping pong then later pool. It was a room that welcomed all ages. In the winter, the Christmas lights strung around the room were lit giving the room a warmer atmosphere, one you just wanted to snuggle into. I often sat before the fire with my boyfriend talking of the future, watching the flames and dreaming.
I miss that room. No matter how hard I try, the room will never be repeated. I have always wanted to have a fireplace in my home. The warm winter fire reminds me of the past but yet it isn’t the same. The old cement floor and field stone walls no longer surround me. The big furnace pumping heat through the baseboard is antique of another time. Mom’s odds and ends that remained where they had always sat reminded us that nothing had changed once we walked into the house once more home for a visit.
But my fireplace does take me back. It is a place where I can share stories with my grandchildren. We sit and look into the flames and make new memories. Memories I cherish because of the fireplace where once I sat. Memories that began in another place and time. A place on Neff Road.

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