Most of yesterday, well into the evening, our fireplace was kept lit by pressing a red remote control button near my hand. My fuzzy slippered feet were propped up on the sofa where my computer sat upon my lap. There, I wrote words by the light of flickering flames. Times have changed though often it’s for the better.
Years ago, when I first moved to St Louis our two-story home had a beautiful wood burning fireplace with bookshelves built on either side. What a treat to gather logs of weathered wood from an outdoor pile, to brush them off as best we could. Once inside, we’d fight to stack them perfectly atop the sooted metal grate. Soon we’d kneel ever so close to light them with tiny blue-tipped matches in the hopes of hearing that “whoosh” sucked up the chimney flue.
Once the fire ‘popped,’ crackling sounds came together with rainbow colors of flames. Cherry red, like the nose worn by a circus clown! Yellow like spring daffodils together with royal blue Crayola crayons. What a sight the nightly fire would be!
Within minutes, scents of smoke-filled the air. Breathing it in, I remembered long ago ‘Girl Scout’ nights by the campfire. Pals with long, skinny legs roasted marshmallows while making up, ‘ oh-so-scary’ ghost stories. Soon, another sound was heard, much more ominous this time. It came from upstairs, where my youngest sleeping boy of two lay nestled between flannels of nursery rhymes. Running up to check on him, he was in the middle of violent coughing spells. They began to shake his crib, rattling his tiny ribs. I had no way of knowing that the flickering flames of color, actually smoke from the fire was a danger to my tender toddler lungs.
Our home fireplace was a lesson for me. Not long after I gave away our wooden logs and our sooted grate. The fireplace was converted from wood burning to gas. It still kept the heart of our home warm and all aglow. The flames flickered with colors like before, except he bad smoke was never more. No longer would it fill my baby’s lungs with irritants to make him cough or choke.
Remote control…it’s a good thing!