Craftours Lifestyles Magazine December 2018 - Page 13

so the logs would “burn.” Satisfied at last, I settled to the floor in my favorite nook across from the fireplace – directly in front of the furnace vent. I knew the warm air blew from the basement, but in my mind, the heat spread from the cardboard logs to ignite my imagination. It was there that I spun my boyish dreams and lived my foolish fantasies. The years drifted on, and so did I. When all of us kids were grown and on our own, our parents hit the jackpot. I mean really hit the jackpot. In a big way. They won over two million dollars in the Illinois State Lottery! fireplace. As instant millionaires, the first thing they did was look for a new place to live. My father insisted on only two musts: an attached garage and . . . a working fireplace. My mom wanted more space. And they found it: a beautiful two-story house with four bedrooms, a spacious kitchen, a dining area, a two-car garage, a roomy basement – and a living room with a working enveloped dozens of presents under a beautifully lit tree. From top to bottom, the place murmured, “New, Gorgeous, Tasteful.” It certainly wasn’t the home as I remembered it. Near the stairwell, I glanced up . . . and did a double take. Perched at the top, like a forgotten old friend I might bump into on the corner, stood the raggedy cardboard fireplace. With a smile as wide as Mom’s rolling pin, I climbed the stairs and sank to the top step as a wave of boyhood memories washed over me. Before long, Mom found me upstairs and stood silently at my side. I looked up, waiting for her eyes to meet mine. “You kept it, this old fireplace in your new home. Why?” After a long moment, she placed her hand on my shoulder and bent toward me. “Because I don’t ever want any of us to forget the simple joys of Christmas,” she whispered. And I nodded in understanding, pleased that I could still feel the warmth radiating from the old, cardboard fireplace. In December after their move, we all came home for our first holiday together in years. While everyone lazed and chatted by the fireside on Christmas Eve, I rose to my feet to stroll through the house on a private tour. Mom had decorated with recently purchased crystal ornaments and a hand-carved Santa from Germany. Embroidered holiday doilies graced new end tables, and expensive wrapping paper This Story is taken from “Chicken Soup for the Soul - Christmas Virtues.”