Monday, December 07, 2009

Warm Fire

Leave it to Clark Draney again to spark (no pun intended) a memory from my childhood. He wrote an article this week about starting a fire in his fireplace. I guess the post was just a normal post and didn't really excite me much until he came to the part about remembering to open the flue. Pow! The memories of growing up in our house just flooded my mind.

In our house there were 2 fireplaces. One upstairs, one down. The upstairs fireplace was well kept and was used to warm the main level of our house. In the winter, this was a great source of warmth in our house. However, to keep the fire stoked with wood, someone would have to tiptoe out the back sliding glass door periodically to get more wood. Upon doing so, a blast of cold air would rush into the main room and chill us all for a few seconds until the door was again slid shut.

The downstairs fireplace was a whole different animal. For some reason, the cold air would be pushed down the chimney. I'm sure there is a scientific reason for the down draft that made lighting a fire down there a difficult task. I remember several times trying to light newspaper down there only to receive a face full of smoke in return. The first blast of smoke was from forgetting to open the flue. The second blast of smoke was from the down draft of cold air. The instruction and scientific explanation was given that enough heat had to be applied at the beginning to get the air to start flowing back up the chimney. Once this delicate balance of hot and cold was overcome, the smoke would cease to fill the room. After several minutes of gray plums of smoke layering the downstairs family room, the miracle of the chimney would occur and the room would begin to filter up the brick column.

I am sure that as I get older, I will find that I have a layer of soot embedded deep in my lungs that will eventually kill me. Yes, I am sure I have a very minor case of Black Lung right now. I always new I would die of cancer.


analee hirschi said...

yes I afirm all of you memories and of course the "close the door" as soon as someone walked upstairs. It got so warm dow there it was awesome. I remember making fires not knowing if the flu was open or not until 5 minutes after the fire had been going here was fire alarm going off.

Tiffany said...

The smell of fires bring back so many memories too. I loved waking up to the fire already going. But remember down stairs whenever someone came down the stairs all of us already down there would yell "SHUT THE DOOR" so all the warm air would stay down stairs and of course the layer of smoke too.

Melinda said...

I guess that was a boys/mans job. I never had to light the fire. It was always miraculously going. I do remember the smoky room though.

Fireplaces were such a big thing in my childhood. We always went to the livingroom where dad always had a nice fire going.

Susan said...

I love the fireplace!!! It's one of the things I really miss here. There is a fireplace in the livingroom but it has never been used...and its gas. There is a stove downstairs that could be used for coal or wood but we're not supposed to use it either. Bless Dad's heart. He made such a great memory for all of us. Some of the best times were having the warm fireplace and all of us gathered arounds laughing and throwing stuff in the flames. I was sure Clint was going to be a pyromaniac. Miss it so very much.