There is nothing more invigorating nor nostalgic than walking out into the cold night air and enjoying the aroma of firewood burning in my neighbor’s fireplaces! I stood on my upper deck moments ago and while I enjoyed gazing at the half-moon and breathed the cold air into my congested lungs I went back for a moment in time to a place in the Deep South where the old “home place” stood on a sandy lane. The hearth in that old wooden house was large and huge logs were placed into it and generated the heat for the house. I remember standing in front of the leaping orange flames and feeling toasted while my other side was feeling completely chilled.
I closed my eyes and could see the tall men standing around exchanging stories that caused them to slap their legs and laughing until they cried, usually at the expense of one of the “city boys” upon whom they had pulled a prank! My dad happened to be the “city boy” at one time and they thought they had him for sure. They took him deep in the woods on a “coon” hunt with the dogs running and barking hunting for a poor animal that had gotten itself treed. They wound their way through the woods and over creeks and then they did it, they left him to be a “look-out” (I don’t know, don’t ask) and were going to come back, that’s when they all headed back to the home place leaving him there to find his way out.
They were all laughing and beating each other on the back over the great joke they had pulled on Harry. What they didn’t realize was that just because “Harry,” hailed from Los Angeles, California he was not the simple city slicker they took him for. By the time he realized that the woods had gone silent he looked toward the stars and found his way back to the hearth before they could warm their cold hands before it. That gained their respect, well that and the fact that he could lift so much weight and easily throw any challengers over his head onto the lane plus his ability to pray heaven down for them when they needed it!
The path to the out-house, the kitchen separate from the rest of the house, the mouth-watering aroma of bacon frying and biscuits cooking on Granma Minnie’s wood-burning stove, all those images flashed before me as I stood out there on my cold porch, then the wind blew across the wind chimes as if to signal “the end” and I was cold, so I came inside, not to warm my hands in front of a fire but to find my fleecy soft, purple blanky to burrow into, with visions of long-ago holidays put away for now as I face the reality of my mother who says she is afraid and wants to go home.