I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.
A Lot of Thinking
have been put to motion during this cycle of life that is here today and faded tomorrow. A lot of the same thinkers are patient, while others are wasteful, greedy, never being satisfied with a little. These are of men, the most-miserable.
To some, the drink of whiskey satisfies for a short while. To some, one more slice of pie can bring one a few minutes of satisfaction. But to the small, the obscure, and giving people, life has this mysterious way of never worrying where the small, obscure, and giving are traveling. These lives are not fanciful, but fulfilling. And all of their lives and plans were made at the scene of a quiet, warm fireplace.
For way too long now, our first homesteads were not complete unless a fireplace graced the living room because it stood for the center of life and the lives who sat near the loving flames made from a Red Oak log—all dreaming of the soon coming Spring. That part is life as we know it, vintage, is all but gone from our nation.
Mankind, For Some Reason
seemingly, just has this unwanted burden to do more, gain more, and look the best while doing it. Not with our big fireplaces of the 1700s and later in the 1800s. These fireplaces were works of art in their own right and the builders had a quiet thought of pride as they joined their families on a bitterly-cold winter’s night when the north wind is so sharp that it could cut the bark off a tree.
But the families stood it. Endured it when the odds were dealt against them, somehow, someone with a little gave in order for a lot to be fed, watered, and sheltered one more cold night. And the place where they took shelter, made tomorrow’s plans and ate freshly-baked bread, was in the presence of a big fireplace.
If we could peek through a small hole inside the Fabric of Time and see just who the people were who valued their fireplaces and were sad when they took up root, married, and started homes of their own . . .and yes, the first thing built was the fireplace. Not fancy. Not extravagant. But well-built, slow in watching the mortar harden until the rocks (or bricks) were steady enough to withstand any cold winter’s vengeful winds.
For The Families
of the fireplace owners, let’s consider them “blessed,”because during the eras of the fireplace, young love was discovered and older lovers sat and enjoyed their loving years. But it was all because of the fireplace. The fireplace was the first real home appliance. There were no TVs or radio’s to be had. Frankly, the families with magnificent fireplaces would not have enjoyed these instruments of pleasure as more as their warm, peaceful fireplaces. Even the pets who were living with these families were treated to a warm night when they were invited to come in from the cold.
The same can be said about the families with fireplaces who were not selfish. In this time in Post-Depression times, many families with a warm fireplace opened their homes to give a passing hobo who was in need of a warm night and maybe some warm, homemade soup to enjoy. And the more that these families gave way to their own desires and gave cheerfully to strangers, the more that these families were blessed.
to these closing thoughts about how valuable, and how important the fireplace was to the family group, I can only offer you this ONE remark: from the ages five through seven, my family and I had a fireplace and part of my chores was to help keep the wood supply inside the house near our fireplace.
At my age, 65, currently, I have the blessed memories of my parents and I just gazing into the fire and listening to the crackling of the Hickory wood that my dad loved to cut and use for firewood. In years to come, my parents went to the modern way of heating and swore by an auger-fueled coal heater. I used to get in the coal for this “monster” before I married and moved out.
And even in my home with my wife and daughter in the years past her birth in 1976, we never had a fireplace. We used butane gas with his large aluminum tank that was sitting outside near our rented home. But we never froze.
Neither did the families with big fireplaces.
March 27, 2019_______________________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery
Ann Carr from SW England on April 04, 2019:
I too love a fireplace. It's the centre of the living room for me. We put in a wood-burner before this last winter, as an early part of our renovation of this 'new' home.
I remember gathering close to my grandparents' fire, with a toasting fork up to the flames, with my grandmother's cakes cooking in the oven next to it, and much much more. Any fireplace provides comfort and a focal point as well as the obvious warmth.
Great piece, Kenneth!