One missing piece changes everything.
A pub with no beer. Just an empty room, kind of smelly.
A clock with no tick. Just another tchotchke, if it doesn’t tell time.
A fireplace with no flame. Just a cold hole in the wall of a room.
We’ve been looking at a cold hole in the wall of our living room for a couple months now but last night we got a wonderful Christmas gift—we have our flame back!
Our fireplace is powered by a gas insert and, when we had it serviced this fall, they found a warped section and a hole in the firebox. That meant that carbon monoxide could, possibly, leak out. And that meant we could, possibly, wake up dead.
The good news, other than the fact that we didn’t wake up dead, is that the fireplace was under warranty. The bad news was that there was no telling when it would be replaced. No promises were made.
We had a pool, Don and I, guessing when we’d have it functional again. Don was the optimist and guessed, “before Christmas.” Pessimist Kerry said, “end of January.”
Just this once, I am so pleased to have been wrong!
I do love a fire blazing in the fireplace. I love it all winter long but especially at Christmas.
It’s cold here in the North Country of upstate New York. The winter wind comes mostly from the north and bangs right up against our living room windows. That fireplace dispels the chill that can get into one’s bones.
But, of course, the fireplace is more than simply a practical way of getting warm. It brings back those memories I cherish so much of early Christmases on the farm. The “good” parlor was where the Christmas tree stood, next to the fireplace that would be lit Christmas morning, for the frenzy of unwrapping gifts.
In the frenzy of unwrapping gifts, the gift wrap would be added to the flame. Some years, when power cords and cash went missing, it was acknowledged that they, too, had probably been added to the flame . . .
A fireplace sums up what I want my holiday to be at this stage of my life as well. Warm, cozy, bright. Quiet, simple, understated.
Now that our fireplace has been mended, we will finish our simple decorating. The Santa contingent can take their places on the mantle and a few special linens will be added, and we’ll call it done.
On Christmas Day, while others are going over the river and through the woods to visit relatives, we will hang out in front of the fire, just us two, with a warm drink, a good book, a little hand sewing.
The cats will jostle for position in front of the fireplace. With luck, a light snow will fall outside the windows and we will welcome the North Wind to blow.
The spot formerly known as a “cold hole in the wall of the room” will blaze with color and heat. The room will get, maybe, a little too warm.
But, really, can a room, at Christmas, ever be too warm?