Is there anything more satisfying after a hard day of skiing or snowboarding than sitting by the fireplace? I am a bit snobbish about fireplaces and practice real wood fireplace in my house.
Gather by the Fireplace — Hearths and Potbellys
The ski resort I call my home resort has a big fireplace in its main lodge and an ample supply of wood. When you walk into the lodge you quickly smell the aroma of a burning wood fire. That resort also has old potbelly stoves in its mid-mountain lodge. The scent of the potbelly stoves is a part of the resort’s welcoming committee. The faint smell of smoke from a wood burning fireplace ranks right up there with the smells of a fresh brewed pot of coffee or baking bread.
Many people are satisfied simply by the visual and warming sensations of a fireplace and in a pinch the simple appearance of a fire will do. Fires are not just a wintertime affairs either, many people have fond memories of nights around a firepit in the summer: roasting hotdogs, marshmallows, and making s’mores. The appeal of a fire goes beyond the warmth and the light fires provide.
Gather by the Fireplace — The Parade
I have many memories of sitting around the firepit with friends and family. At my age a growing number of those friends and family members are now memories only. Sitting around the fire pit helps me to carry on the things we started together. Whether that be fires back in the day or or tales of hunting, fishing, or mayhem. One story is particularly vivid.
One morning Mike (more commonly known as “Mickey”)in his attempt to rejuvenate the fire filled a styrofoam cup with gasoline. The gasoline promptly started eating the cup away and traced Mike’s path from the gas can to the fire. Mike tossed the remains of the cup and gas into the fire and then the fire followed that gas-traced path. All of us ran away from the soon to occur action-film explosion. Fortunately, the fire fizzled out before serious harm came about. Mike was one of a three key figures in my life and he and another of that trio are gone. Mickey’s oldest son who was also part and parcel of these fires (and arguably one of the best friends I have had in my life) is also gone.
Gather by the Fireplace — In Home
My wife and I have a fireplace in our basement. It is a high-efficiency insert type of unit and it burns wood. Not pellets and not natural gas. Why? Even pellets would loosen the grip of the utility company on our wallet, but I opt for a wood fireplace. Yes, that includes extra work of finding and maintaining a supply chain of firewood. Mind you, burning wood in a in-home fireplace requires dry wood.
So this means either finding someone who is able to deliver seasoned wood on demand or having a two year supply on hand at all times, the current year and next year’s supply. I have to screen off the fresh pile and then I have to move it and I need about three cords per season and that amounts to about five tons, guess what? I have to move and stack that five tons! Still, that effort is just a distant memory as I sit in my basement and write this (the fire is going and warming up our house).
What memories do fireplaces and fires bring back to you?