After retiring last May, Fred and I moved to a new town where my daughter and her family live. We moved from a condo with a gas fireplace that I enjoyed during the winter. That fireplace was the one main thing I missed about our new apartment. Today, however, we set up an entertainment center with a nice firebox in it. Although it is electric, the flames look real and the heat it puts out is very sufficient, making the room feel cozy and warm.
As I sat on the couch staring into the flames of our new fireplace, my grandfather’s old caned rocker in view, I remembered something from long ago that was a very special time. My mother had to go out of town for some reason. I must have been around four years old and my brother, David would have been two. We were staying at my grandparents’ house – George and Grace (Grandad and Nannie). David was on Nannie’s lap and I sat on Grandad’s lap, which was one of my most favorite spots in the world. It was winter and they had a very large gas stove that we were sitting in front of.
Grandad sat in his rocker and I rested my head against his chest, feeling the soft wool of his dark navy sweater. I often sat in that chair with him, moving the pull tab on his metal zipper up and down, up and down. But this night it was getting very late (or so it seemed) and I was almost in a trance as I stared at the flames in the stove and listened to Grandad’s voice as he told us one of his many made-up stories. This particular story was of a young shepherd boy who was with his father out in a field the night when the angels appeared, announcing the birth of the Messiah. The story told of the stars in the ink blue sky, the sudden bright light, and the song of the angels. It told of how the boy begged to go with the others and, making the journey in the night, discovered the Christ-child just as the angel had promised.
I remember as I lay against my grandfathers’ chest, listening to his soft voice, seeing reflections of light around the room, the corners were dark but light and shadows danced on the walls. I could almost see the angels in those shadows. As I nodded off to sleep, I could imagine hearing the low mooing of the cattle. And then I could barely hear my grandparents whispering to one another as I gave up and drifted off.
It’s amazing what a cozy fire on a winter’s night can stir up inside us if we just sit still and wait. It’s bitter cold and snowy outside, but in this place, it is quiet, inviting and warm. It makes me thankful for home, for family and friends. And I am so very thankful for good memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. The memories keep them alive in my heart and in my mind.
I hope you have a cozy warm place to sit and reminisce and that good memories fill you with peace and joy.