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A fireplace always warms the heart
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Fall and winter are when most people begin to stockpile wood for their fireplaces. Of course, some keep a large supply of wood year-round.

I have always loved a fireplace; I see it as a necessity in any home. If, for some reason, your source of heat and light goes out, you can at least cook and stay somewhat warm with a roaring, hot fire. A fireplace can save the day.

Fireplaces can be designed simply or elaborately. I am partial to the wood-burning varieties.

Dear readers, if your fireplace hasn’t been used in awhile, make sure it is safe. Then enjoy the sight and the scent of burning wood.

Come, sit by my fireplace. Listen to that crackling sound. Relax as you watch the dancing, flickering flames.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

One day last week, I had been pruning back hedges and picking up broken branches until I wanted to scream. I was exhausted, just plain tired.

I decided to sit by my fireplace and let the fire work its magic.

When I was growing up, my mother didn’t want a fireplace in our home. She said memories of carrying wood gave her nightmares. So, though my father was a master brick mason, we had no fireplace. We had gas heat.

A fireplace can be enjoyed in solitude, or in a convivial, boisterous group. I can recall when friends of mine held a cookout in the country every fall. They had a large bar area that was constructed of wood from their property; it actually looked like a two-car garage with one large room on top.

I stayed overnight many times in their rustic house, where beautiful, picture-perfect stone fireplaces provided heat. The Alabama nights would get very cold, so I would spend those nights placing wood on the fire. Those are, quite literally, warm memories.

If your fireplace is just for two, place pillows on a rug so you two can be comfortable. What a great way to snuggle with a partner after, of course, the one of you who is skilled at getting the fire going has done so. I hope I never have a home that doesn’t have a wood-burning fireplace; those gas logs just are not for me. Unlike my mother, I enjoy carrying wood; bringing in the wood gets the heart pumping.

I find no delight in a fireplace that isn’t used for its intended purpose. If it is safe to use, it should be used.

"Give me an old-fashioned fireplace with a fire burning bright on a cold winter’s night;

If my dog has to keep me company, that will be all right;

I can still have my pillows and something warm to drink;

I just welcome a warm fire on any winter’s night."

By ... me, Dorothy Piedrahita.


Dorothy Frazier Piedrahita welcomes reader comments. She can be reached at