Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday Stories 2017--Stone Fireplaces

I took Micah and a couple friends up north yesterday to play in the snow. More on that trip later, but sitting by the stone fireplace at the cabin brought back a favorite memory of time spent in front of another stone fireplace--this one in Idaho.

I wish I had a picture of the two story fireplace in the living room of my childhood home.

Constructed of purplish-grey Southern Idaho lava rock, it was the focal point of the 70s-era house, to be sure, and looked like something out of a ski lodge. The stones on the hearth were smooth, but those on the face were rough. It was outdated by the time we bought the house, and I know it was never my mom's favorite, but I bet it's on point in today's retro/midcentury modern style revival. That fireplace held our oversize decorative stockings at Christmas and warmed our house all winter. Dad had a converter installed that circulated water beneath the fire, and as it heated up, it would somehow turn on the furnace and warm our house. I was a kid and didn't fully understand how it worked, but I knew the fire operated all winter to keep our whole house warm. When my sisters were little girls, they would spread out their underwear and nightgowns in front of the fireplace, and after their baths, they would run downstairs wrapped only in towels before putting on their toasty pajamas.

I remember the time my brother, Gary, and I discovered that water placed on the metal dividers of the fireplace screen would sizzle. We took turns flicking droplets of water and watching it quickly disappear. Kids' minds reach incorrect conclusions due to their lack of experience with the world. I concluded that if a droplet of water on the metal created a small reaction, then a cup full of water thrown at the glass panels would certainly be even more exciting. I took the small cup and tossed it at the fireplace before my mom could stop me.

What happened next was more than exciting. On contact with the water, the glass quickly cracked in all directions. My jaw dropped and I held my breath, waiting for the shards to fall and the precious heat from the fire to start escaping through the hole. Much to my parents' surprise (and my relief), those broken pieces never fell. And when I say never, I mean it. When my parents moved out of that house over 25 years later, that shattered pane of glass, second from the left, still held together.

No comments:

Post a Comment