And he had been so happy, staring at the coals that glowed a deep pulsating red, occasionally going off like firecrackers as they arced randomly into the living room. Dad loved all of that. He never complained when an ember hit him and burned testily into his skin, or when one burnt a hole into one of the throw rugs. It was music to his ears, music that calmed him. He loved the sound of the sap singeing as it boiled in the wood, he loved the tart smell of the slightly green wood as it groaned and tried to catch fire. In front of the fire, he’d smile when the dark smoldering smoke finally faded to a see-through white as the wood finally caught. It never made his eyes water.
And we all loved that too, because he really loved it.

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