Today I was reminded of a memory while I was shivering from the cold (have I mentioned how much I hate cold weather!). While I was standing in front of our gas fireplace attempting to get warmer,I thought back to the days when this was the only way to get warm. Back then the fireplace in our old farm-house was two-sided and it was huge and it heated the whole house. The other side faced my sisters and my bedroom. There is nothing like three girls sharing the same room…more fun than a barrel of monkeys, at least that was my perspective. I would say that if they were asked the story would be very different! Anyways,this was not a gas fireplace mind you, but one that we had to haul coal in for. I say a “we” as if I was one of the ones who did this…because of my young age I usually wasn’t. I would watch my older siblings pick up the coal bucket and go out into the freezing dark night and get it full of coal, hands black from the residue and they were just young kids themselves. When you are raised on a farm everyone pitches in and there were jobs for us all. This fireplace was the most magical place of all in our house, with the exception of the “chifferobe” (say that the way it looks, because I know it has a real name but we called it that) that “chifferobe” was very clearly the same wardrobe that Lucy crawled into only to find the land of Narnia. I was convinced of this fact of course and it was in my mom and dads room for safety’s sake and to keep us out of it! There was one at my granny and papa’s house also so it must have been common back then so that people always had an escape route to a better place. Nonetheless, the next best was the fireplace. At night my two “older” (ha) sisters and I would play blind mans bluff by the light of the fire. It was just scary enough in that room to be fun. Now that I think of it that game was sorta like Marco Polo without the swimming pool! Well then, sometimes we would just lay there and talk, my one sister was always one to tell a great story. She has a writers imagination and has always been able to conjure up a new and magical world to make-believe in. This fire back then was big enough to heat up the whole house, of course this house was not so big. It had a living Room and our bedroom and a small room for our parents and we had a porch turned into a room for my brother. So the fire was to be working overtime to keep us warm. There isn’t much better than a real fire, with the beautiful embers glowing that appear to be alive and call out to me. I do feel like if I stare at the fire too long I will inevitably fall into it. It tends to be mesmerizing. You just don’t get all this with a stack of gas logs and a “fake” fire. I don’t actually want to go back to those days but I do see the advantage of a fire blazing and the memory of days when the fire blazed within our own family, before we became a statistic. The days on the farm were numbered and in not too many years we would all leave there. Our family would divide and it would be the beginning of the end, or at least to me. As I remember back to those days I am honored to have lived them and comforted by the fact that I have been blessed with a big family…standing in front of the gas logs and instead of “blind mans bluff” I hear the laughter of my family playing Frisbee golf on the new fangled video system…Wii. Pretty funny actually to watch them all play but even more it is time well spent laughing and arguing and loving each other. And just in case the score isn’t accurately told….let me just say…girls rule! Still and always will! Memories are good. They are simple reminders of how gracious and loving our God is to us. Even the bad memories, make for the realization of His mercy and grace. We are still here standing by the fire, mesmerized by the flames and waiting to make new memories and I still hate the cold weather!