Saturday, March 27, 2021

The smell of pipe tobacco, four decades later

You know what they say about certain smells triggering the deepest memories? It's true, in my experience, and recently I was powerfully reminded of it.

I've told you how I go out walking very early most mornings, which generally means I don't come across many people. I was walking around 5:30 in the morning the other day when the scent of burning pipe tobacco suddenly filled my head.

Someone nearby was clearly smoking a pipe. I surmised it was someone standing on the porch of one of the houses I was walking past, though it was still so dark I couldn't make out anyone.

No matter, though, as that smell instantly transported me back to a very specific time in the late 1970s. I would wake up on a Saturday morning and go into the kitchen, and almost inevitably my dad would be sitting at the table playing solitaire (the real kind, non-electronic) and smoking his pipe.

He kept the tobacco in a zip-up leather pouch. Sometimes I would open the pouch and take a big whiff because I loved the smell of it. It didn't smell quite as good when it burned, but it still wasn't nearly as unpleasant as the unavoidable stench of cigarettes that was seemingly everywhere back then.

I also associate a certain sound with that smellthe sound of shuffling cards. Dad had a lot of experience playing cards, so he was a very good shuffler.

Shuffling cards and pipe smoke. Those were the Saturday morning sensory soundtrack of my youth. For a few seconds as I walked, I was taken back to that time.

My dad has been gone more than 20 years, but as far as I was concerned, he was right there with me. It was 1978, and the only two things ahead of me that day were a morning of cartoons and an afternoon playing with my friends.

It only lasted a few seconds, but it was nice. In a moment I snapped back to reality and turned my attention back to the World War I podcast to which I was listening. The rest of the walk was that much more pleasant, though.

Heartfelt thanks to the person who was smoking that pipe. It's not a healthy habit, but I'll admit, you made my day.

1 comment:

  1. What a nice memory! You also took me back to tha td time! Thanks Scott!