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Joys of a fireplace

There was a time not so many years ago when I derived great happiness from bragging about my fireplace, that gave me so much pleasure on cold, snowy winter days. When I could watch large oak and poplar logs blazing, and sending out cheer and warmth. My thoughts very often go back to the Sunday afternoons when I would snooze in front of the roaring fireplace. These thoughts take me back some twenty years to the day that my neighbor called and told me that my chimney was on fire. After several chunks of tile fell onto the hearth, I knew that my fireplace days were over.
I try not to think about that. I’d rather think about the December and January days when the fireplace was so much a part of my life. The fire ruined my fireplace, but it didn’t succeed in wiping away memories of sizzling frying sap, and busy flames reaching ever upward. When I think about it, it comes back like a recurring dream.
On a snowy afternoon, I sat back in my favorite chair before the fireplace and watched the multicolored flames, as they changed shape and size as they danced across the still green bark of the logs. Sending sparks that sometimes flew out into the living room.
My thoughts went back to an earlier time, when our needs were about the same, and our wants were less. Back to a time on the farm, when my brothers and I would head out into the woods on brisk fall Saturday afternoons to cut firewood. We used a cross-cut saw. No farm was without such a saw and a woodpile. Nothing in the world teaches teamwork like a cross-cut saw. For readers too young to know, the saw is about six to eight feet long, and has long sharp teeth. There’s a handle at each end that runs parallel to the blade.
And an operator holding each handle. They stand opposite each other on each side of the tree, and one pulls his end while his partner pushes. They create a rhythm, and soon the saw is moving through the tree trunk until the tree falls. When each person does his part, it is a lot of fun, but when one fails to do his part, there’s trouble. It just won’t work if only one person is doing his part.
If a man wants to do something that his children will remember for a long time to come, he should hide the chain saw for a while; there’s not a nostalgic moment in a carload of chain saws. Then run down to the hardware store and buy a cross-cut saw, and make it a family project to go out and cut the winter’s supply of wood. I guarantee the entire family will experience something that they will be telling their grandchildren about. And the wood will make the hottest fire you ever backed up to.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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Joys of a fireplace

There was a time not so many years ago when I derived great happiness from bragging about my fireplace, that gave me so much pleasure on cold, snowy winter days. When I could watch large oak and poplar logs blazing, and sending out cheer and warmth. My thoughts very often go back to the Sunday afternoons when I would snooze in front of the roaring fireplace. These thoughts take me back some twenty years to the day that my neighbor called and told me that my chimney was on fire. After several chunks of tile fell onto the hearth, I knew that my fireplace days were over.
I try not to think about that. I’d rather think about the December and January days when the fireplace was so much a part of my life. The fire ruined my fireplace, but it didn’t succeed in wiping away memories of sizzling frying sap, and busy flames reaching ever upward. When I think about it, it comes back like a recurring dream.
On a snowy afternoon, I sat back in my favorite chair before the fireplace and watched the multicolored flames, as they changed shape and size as they danced across the still green bark of the logs. Sending sparks that sometimes flew out into the living room.
My thoughts went back to an earlier time, when our needs were about the same, and our wants were less. Back to a time on the farm, when my brothers and I would head out into the woods on brisk fall Saturday afternoons to cut firewood. We used a cross-cut saw. No farm was without such a saw and a woodpile. Nothing in the world teaches teamwork like a cross-cut saw. For readers too young to know, the saw is about six to eight feet long, and has long sharp teeth. There’s a handle at each end that runs parallel to the blade.
And an operator holding each handle. They stand opposite each other on each side of the tree, and one pulls his end while his partner pushes. They create a rhythm, and soon the saw is moving through the tree trunk until the tree falls. When each person does his part, it is a lot of fun, but when one fails to do his part, there’s trouble. It just won’t work if only one person is doing his part.
If a man wants to do something that his children will remember for a long time to come, he should hide the chain saw for a while; there’s not a nostalgic moment in a carload of chain saws. Then run down to the hardware store and buy a cross-cut saw, and make it a family project to go out and cut the winter’s supply of wood. I guarantee the entire family will experience something that they will be telling their grandchildren about. And the wood will make the hottest fire you ever backed up to.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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