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Home Country

By Slim Randles
Dec 15, 2004 - 8:42:00 AM

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Itís natural to mumble nasty things about the cold weather. We all do it from time to time. But even the cold has its merits.

One big plus is that it makes fireplaces a reasonable addition to our lives. In cold weather, we can build a fire in our home with a clear conscience. This is something that doesnít translate well to summer heat, but when itís cold, here comes the fire. Strange, isnít it, our love affair with a fireplace? Makes absolutely no sense. Today, we can make houses so impervious to cold that every time we light a candle, the temperature goes up ten degrees. So what do we do? We cut a hole in this sealed anti-cold unit so we can sit and look at the flames, the way our ancestors have done since they learned to walk upright and invented kindling.

But we donít care. Weíll spend a lot of extra money to buy a house with a fireplace, and not think a thing about it. Because this fireplace is the spiritual center of a home, as itís always been. Itís the gathering place. Itís the place to read, to learn, to meet and tell stories. Itís the core of our universe. The fireplace Ė and those waiting for us there Ė is what we dream about when weíre miles from home in the woods or desert. It warms us, inside and out, cooks our food, and answers our questions.

Questions? Sure.

When the fireís burning low, and you can just see the little blue lickem flames curling around the glowing embers late at night, and when weíve about talked out the dayís adventures, we can look at those embers and find answers to questions we didnít even know we had.

And we feel sorry for people who donít have these advantages.

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