What is the comfort in sitting in front of a roaring fire? Fire is one of the basic elements along with water, that many of us enjoy being near. I’m sitting in front of a fire this cold afternoon right now. Ahhhhhhh.

Growing up we had a pretend cardboard fireplace for Santa when we lived in apartments. At 3 and 4 years old I believed Santa used that fireplace to visit us. My 9 year old brother obviously had to go along with it. It didn’t burn or work in any way. It just was a picture of a red brick fireplace and black mantel on cardboard, that folded it’s sides to stand up along a wall. It was cute and just a Christmas time decoration. Some executive was creative to think of that and my mother to buy it. I don’t recollect seeing one since.

When we moved into a real house, it had a real fireplace in the living room. Learning to build a fire and keep it stoked is an important lesson for all northerners. How to be patient, add enough paper, air and kindling to create a starter heat and flame before logs can be added. Patience is key. And the right draw of air and circulation going up the chimney. The art from of building a good working fireplace and chimney key. And now sitting in front of the fireplace to enjoy the crackle, heat, wood smell and orange flame is a reminder of simple home pleasures from the past through to this moment.

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