Monday, January 28, 2013

Something in the Air- Taryn's Tiny Tales

Something in the air this morning caught my attention as we stood on the porch, waiting for the bus to pick up my kids for school. It's a blustery day out there, gloomy and gray and though it was around 50º at the time, the wind was slap-happy and really smacking us around so it felt cooler.

And there it was, this odor that hit my sense of smell and hurled me back in time. It actually caused me to tear up a little. The sudden ache of missing my grandpa, struck my center and hurt more than it has in quite some time. I was transported back to running around the junkyard and scavenging through old car bodies for trinkets- be it a cute key-chain or bauble, climbing to the top of the wood pile or the coal pile and tromping through thick muck in the mule lot.

The muffled sound of an old radio with a wire clothes hanger of an antenna played in the background, country music twanging out the sad notes of George Jones and Johnny Cash, Barbara Mandrell and Crystal Gail. It was the 80s and I was a kid.

The smell of old rancid motor oil and gasoline, automotive lubricants and cleaners enveloped me in a warm embrace as memories of huddling near the stove in the back of that old cold garage on blistery winter days bound vividly to the forefront of my mind. I'd shiver near the stove, gloved hands hovering as close as possible to it without burning myself. I'd be nearly frozen while bundled up, in sweaters and jeans and thick socks, piling on scarves and sock caps and burrowing deep into my mom's old green Army jacket she got from some surplus store. All the while, my grandpa and uncle would work on a car, their breath appearing in front of them like the cigarette smoke that usually encircled their heads.

The crisp aroma of burnt wood and tobacco, lighter fluid and the stinging odor of coal, was enough to make your eyes water while the heat from the stove felt as though it were drying out ever pore in your body. It felt so good though I couldn't help myself. Rotating like the Earth on its axis, I would pivot in a slow circle, the stove my Sun, warming the hills and valleys of my tiny world. I didn't care how cold it was, I only wanted to spend time with my grandpa and my uncle, listening to them talk shop and sitting on a stack of old rubber tires or scooting around on my uncle's creeper, wishing it was a skateboard.

Ah...but the memories fade back and I'm here in the present again and remember that our neighbor has a huge garage across the road, one in which he sometimes works on cars himself and sometimes, on really crisp mornings, the odors are carried on the wind, whisking me back to my childhood, back to my hometown and making me as homesick as ever.

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