The temperatures outside the walls of the Pfister Hotel have plummeted down into the ranges that are not safe for man nor beast. If you can avoid being outside in Milwaukee right now, you should find a safe refuge where exposed skin is not a victim of the arctic blasts swirling in the frigid air. A good spot for times like this is next to a snug fire, of course. And if I have my druthers, which luckily I do because what am I after all without my druthers, I choose the warmest, coziest spot in town, the Pfister Hotel Lobby Lounge Fireplace.
I’ve always been a fan of a fireplace. As a boy, I didn’t even mind trudging out in the snow with my dad to collect chopped wood from a friend’s property out in the country. That hunting and foraging always ensured that several marvelous fires would be built in my family’s modest fireplace in my boyhood home. I seek out fireplaces in new places that I visit, and one of the great treasures in my fireplace memory scrapbook is the Pfister’s Lobby Lounge fireplace.
If there is a dreamier spot around to enjoy an afternoon tea, a warm after work toddy, or a late night cuddle with the gal or guy of your dreams, I’ve not found it. Surrounded by plush sofas in a friendly setting that has quick access to booze and snacks, it is heaven on earth. When the days are long and bitter, as they are right now here on the streets around the Pfister, there is literally no other place that I would rather be than perched in front of that fireplace doing my favorite thing in the world.
Okay, that’s a little white lie, so let me qualify that a little.
Writing until my head drops and I start sawing some logs during one of those winter naps where I feel like I’m turning into a mighty grizzly bear in deep hibernation.
I was spending a wonderful afternoon yesterday at the Pfister working on several pieces of writing, and I perched by the fireplace still snuggled in my wool coat and scarf. I felt cozy as a bug as my fingers tapped my laptop keyboard, plenty warm under no fewer than six layers of clothing that could be classified as quilted bedding in some remote Alpine cottage. The smell of blueberry tea steeping at a table nearby was the sweetest perfume in the world as I felt a tiny yawn coming on. Classical music playing in the lobby slowly soothed my soul like my mother singing a lullaby. I pulled my head away from the screen of my computer to gaze and the fire, and before I knew it I was woozy, hypnotized by the beauty of lapping flames.
And a second later…out. I was out. Snoozing. Snoring. Maybe even a little drool just about to hit my chin. That darned fire had licked me. And I couldn’t have been happier and more refreshed when I blinked my eyes open a few minutes later, a man forged anew by the rolling flames.
I wish that each and every one of you could have the joy and peace of sitting next to this fire and drifting off into a dreamy pause in your day. I certainly welcome you to take your place by the flames, but I realize it might trickier to do for some of you out in reader land. But, don’t despair. I bring you the next best thing…your own virtual fireplace. I’ve captured a full five minutes of the Pfister fire for you, and I dare you to find a finer videotaped hearth anywhere. You’ll hear the lovely lobby lounge bartender and I bantering 25 seconds in, which I would say is probably 37 seconds before my eyes were firmly shut. I hope you enjoy the next five minutes of calm. And don’t be afraid to put your feet to the fire. Warm piggies are one of the better things in life on a chilly winter day.
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