According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Rain's Back, Light My Fire

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rain's Back, Light My Fire

Oh boy. It’s time to turn the fireplace on. The rain has returned to the Pacific Northwest after an 80-day absence (unheard of around here) and it’s a great afternoon for cozying up with a good book and my faithful companion Sam and falling asleep about ten sentences into chapter 2.

Problem is the couch where I’m sitting is clear across the family room from the fireplace. I’d have to leave my nice warm seat to get up and turn the fireplace on. Where’s a good remote when I need one? Unfortunately, our fireplace doesn’t have a remote control. How decadent would that be anyway? I’ll have to try and teach Sam to stretch his little leg up the wall until his paw can hit the switch that turns the fireplace on. He could do it. He stretches that high when he wants a treat or to get his leash to go outside. He certainly could jump that high; dog’s got springs in his legs.

Are you old enough to remember the days before we had gas fireplaces, especially gas fireplaces without remote controls? Remember the snap, crackle and pop of real wood as it sizzled on the grate in the real fireplace? Rice Krispies aren’t the only thing that snap, crackle and pop, you know?

I don’t miss cutting firewood every year. That used to be a huge chore. Then you had to shovel ashes out of the fireplace occasionally - using care not to dump the ashes into something that would burst into flame later on. And you should have hired a chimney sweep every year to clean soot buildup out of your chimney. Yeah, real fireplaces were a burden sometimes. I’ve seen pictures and been in older buildings where they had these huge fireplaces for heat and of course, most of the heat went right up the chimney. And I’ve seen chimney fires totally destroy people’s homes.

It’s almost impossible to burn real wood in a fireplace anymore. The cities and counties and EPA and those folks have pretty much banned real wood fires, even in an outdoor fire pit. Certain wood and pellet stoves supposedly are certified to be okay, but the neighbors behind our house used to burn pellets and the smoke would drift right into our open bedroom window and nearly choke us to death. Happily, those people finally moved.

But I have such wonderfully nostalgic memories of fires in a fireplace. They could be a real pain in the rear, but I think they were far more wonderful than burdensome. The first fireplace that comes to my mind is the one in my grandparents’ living room where they built fires on cold winter mornings. I’ll never forget that fire crackling and popping in the background as we opened our Christmas presents either.

Another fire I remember (for some reason) was one where my folks visited this family that lived on a wooded lot somewhere. Their fireplace was a fairly enormous rock structure with a nice hearth for sitting on to warm your backside. Of course, when I was a teenager I often used to back up to the fire for too long and my blue jeans would get so hot they scorched the hairs on the backs of my legs.

And I’ll never forget the fireplace at the home of a doctor in Oregon where his daughter and I sat after Christmas carol singing one year while she fed me fudge. Oh, sweet memories.

So, three bags of poop on not being able to build a real fire anymore, less one bag because gas fireplaces are so clean and convenient. I wonder if Fred Meyer sells remote controls for fireplaces?

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