Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sitting by the Fire

I flipped the switch. The chill in the house faded as warm flames chased it away.

The basement door opened and the brisk fall wind entered along with Dad, his arms loaded with logs. He took the logs to the fireplace stacking them for the first fire of the season. The outdoors chill emanated from his grey jacket. I sat on the old piano bench watching Dad light the wood. The flame faltered. Dad lightly blew on the weak spark, raising it to meet the dry wood. Fire whooshed across the fireplace and smoked into the chimney.

Dad and I sat on the old piano bench watching the colorful flames. He explained the different colors of flames flickered from different types of wood. We listened to the crackling bark and twigs sitting in silence. Our faces warmed. A father and daughter.

"I'd better go help your mother," Dad would say then disappear up the stairs.

Sometimes Dad fixed fish over the fire. Eat bite of fresh fish from Michigan was savored. The usual fare was hot dogs and potato salad. While Mom puttered around setting up the meal, Dad placed a hot dog on the end of a roasting fork and handed it to me. He usually had two on his and sometimes ended up with mine as well. I could only take the heat so long, but Dad would crouch down in front of that fire seemingly unaware of the heat.

Casual dining at our home began in front of the fireplace. It was a gathering place of happiness and contentment. From my days as a little girl watching my Daddy build the fires to the years I would watch my children roasting hot dogs next to Dad, the basement held and saved memories for the Loxley girls.

I flip the switch. The chill in the house fades as warm flames chase it away. How I miss the smell of the wood burning and the crackle of the fire. Most of all I miss my father, his arms full of wood and the chill of fall clinging to his grey coat.

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