The man and his son walked in again today. This time, the pair brought with them sleeping bags, firewood logs, snacks, and books.
As the father worked the logs in the fireplace, sparks turned to embers and embers turned to small flames. The son, placing marshmallows on a deconstructed wire hanger found in the attic, asked his father in a barely audible voice, “Can I paint my bedroom green?”
“Paint it however you’d like, buddy.”
“Can we put the Christmas tree by that colored window?”
“That’s exactly where I was thinking, too!”
The conversation continued long past the bag marshmallows and until the logs had all been turned to ashes. The entire time, I said nothing. The wind blew outside, but my joints stood strong for the first time in recent memory. I’ve never told anyone this, but my favorite scent in the world is the aroma of a wood burning fireplace and the solid quarter sawn oak mantle featuring hand-carved lion heads at the point of each corner is a feature I’ve always been proud of. After so long without feeling that warmth inside my brick chamber, the first stream of smoke from my chimney felt like an exhale after holding in a breath for decades.
“Okay, buddy,” I hear the dad say as he stirs the final embers of the fire ensuring it’s completely out, “let’s get to bed. Tomorrow we start to make this place our home.”