Firesides on winter evenings
“The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cozy parlor firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
— Kenneth Grahame in The Wind in the Willows
Each year the seasons seem to pass more quickly, so I’m amazed that winter is already drawing to a close. As eager as I always am for spring, I can’t let the season pass without at least one tribute to the cozy, dreamy appeal of a big, crackling fire. Perhaps my warmest childhood memories are similar to the comforting thoughts evoked by Toad’s buttered toast; my parents, brothers, sister and I spent many happy evenings together by the fireplace, sometimes accompanied by friends, enjoying laughter and lively conversation.
This winter was not typical for us, with the crisis of Jeff’s diagnosis and treatment. Among other festivities that fell by the wayside, I cancelled two trips I had planned to see my parents during the holiday season. I missed the chance to sit by the roaring fires that Mama and Daddy still enjoy. For many years Jeff and I have lived mostly in homes that are newer and supposedly more energy-efficient, with gas fireplaces that are pleasant, but nothing like a real wood fire in an open hearth. I fondly hope that next winter will bring us the opportunity to be together at my parents’ hearth, but until then, I am happy for the memories that warm my thoughts on cold evenings.
If you are lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace, or a gas or electric one, make time to enjoy at least a few more fireside evenings before spring arrives. Curl up with a good book or new magazine, and a cup of hot cocoa, tea or coffee, and bask in the glow.
This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.