Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"I got the trees on my mirror"

The smell was from one of the earlier haunted houses. The one that was at the old Idlewild school. I must have been in elementary school. I don't like the abuse/bastardization of the word epic, but those haunted houses were. There were illusions, hydraulic floors, swinging bridges, chainsaws, then flame-throwers. All volunteer, put on by the Kiwanis Club, work done in the evenings. They were community events, and scarier than any haunted houses I've seen since.

The smell was from the room my father's crew haunted, set up like a swamp, with brush and cattail cuttings, or the one next door, which was a woods scene. It was something that had been cut. But the smell this time wasn't from elementary school, or Idlewild, but this past Sunday, during a run along Rails to Trails. It was instant recognition as the same smell, it conjured it up precisely, to the sea creature mask my dad wore.

My wife has mentioned a smell--something like honeysuckle maybe, but I can't recall--that she knows as her grandfather. Something that was in his house. When she smells it, she knows it is him saying hello.

I am sight-oriented. For learning, for memorizing, I have always been a visual person. Smell would probably rank among my least go-to senses. Which made the haunted house flashback, while out for a 5-mile rise up run Sunday morning, stand out more.

It's a season of smells. The smell of Thanksgiving in Butler, Pa., and the smell of a soon-to-be-cut Christmas tree in the living room. It's likely my nose getting ready. Nose in training. Amping up performance for the evergreen smell that smells like childhood.


The Velveteen said...

I'm smell-based. My grandmother had a very distinct smell. Laundry, More cigarettes (the long skinny brown ones), makeup powder and pledge. Blended together it's heaven and nothing anyone could ever replicate.

I smell her all the time, always when I need to.

Michael Valliant said...

A stellar memory to have, VT. Thanks for sharing and hope you are digging the return to the Motherland!