Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nostalgic Moments

The smell of pipe tobacco....Now how does one go about showing that pray tell? You can almost see his pipe there in his hand, you can see the imprint in his shirt pocket; Dad always had a pipe. This was long before the stigma of smoking became such a huge negative. I loved then, do now the fragrance of that pipe. For me it meant safety, love, stability, and of course war movies. Camping was a bit of a challenge with that pipe for me I must admit., we traveled all over the country and Dad was not one to open a car window. In later years we were in a pick up, the 3 of us up front, hours of driving with that pipe burning. Still to this day, if I catch the aroma of a pipe, I am swiveling around to see from whence it came. Logically I know that Dad will not be standing there, but I still expect to see him; he has been gone over 20 years. Now the reason for the nostalgia would be because Dad and I had a very tumultuous relationship, much anger and resentment. Dad did not protect me when he should have and I resented him for allowing me to be hurt. He joined in the hurtful behavior on some levels; I understand now this was out of his own fear. At the time of his death I did not have any clue how badly I had been damaged and I know that he couldn't have. As a result now when I smell the tobacco I think of the innocent times, the joy we shared in each other's company, I did everything with him until I started to develop as a young woman. We fished every lake in the region, camped in every campground, hiked every trail, we also built garages sheds, poured concrete, mom and my sister were there too, but it was special with him, until...I was 13.

I have few if any photos of my father with his pipe; mama always made Dad put the pipe away when the camera came out. I do however, rarely picture him in my minds eye without the pipe either in his hand or  biting on it lips pulled back just a bit. I see him smiling around the pipe stem, grimacing as he hammered in the nail, or hooked the fish. All this comes to mind with the aroma. There one instance in particular I remember as if it had just occurred. Dad had laid a concrete slab to place our new home on, he was troweling it out even as I stood to the side and watched. He said to me"Now don't walk across this just yet, it is still wet." I said, in my chipper little voice,"Okay daddy." As I proceeded to traipse directly across the wet cement to him. I immediately realized what I had done, put both my hands over my mouth and stared at him. He dropped his jaw, pipe and all, barely catching it in his hand without the trowel. Instead of being angry or upset he opened his arm to wrap around me. I heard him explaining to mama later that the look on my face was enough for him. What I remember is the smell of his pipe
spiraling  up to me from his hand he had tightly wound around me. These are the times the aroma brings to me. I remember the smoke rings he blew in our home from his big brown recliner the house having a blue smokey tinge through out. I never tired of asking him to blow smoke rings. This is when life was innocent and good.

When  the smoke wafts past my nose it also conjures memories of campfires, and the smells of an undeveloped forest, little creatures and Forest Rangers, the only times I was in love with life.

 That is where the aroma takes me to if only for an instant.  I cherish those times of innocence like no other time in my life. Dad was strong, determined, creative, smart, stern most of all he was funny. The pipe takes me back to a time before I knew he was human and not a God. Not a bad place to visit.

photos thanks to jvnphotos and google image search.

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  1. Awwwww such a nice post.. I can almost smell the pipe here.....As always...XOXOOXOXO

  2. ahhh campfires...I just love them.
    U shuld take photo of your dad flaunting pipe :D

  3. Dad is gone almost 22 yrs now:(, thanks for stopping by.

  4. Mmmmm...nothing like a scent, an aroma to bring back memories and when they're good's wonderful. Great post, Jan.

  5. I am sorry to hear that Jan :(
    But m sure he is blessing you everyday and happy to see you remember him :)

  6. Jan, you have not only shared your nostalgic memory with us but have also shown us with your words, how much you loved your dad and how much you miss him. It's a beautiful memory and it touched my heart.

  7. Whoops geez, Thank you Sulekkha.

  8. A beautiful, touching memory, Jan. I'll always remember my grandfather's pipe. Thanks for sharing!


  9. This is such a wonderful post and you brought back nice memories for me too. My stepfather used to smoke pipe and I loved the smell. I always used to watch him light I feel nostalgic!

  10. What touches me the most in this is your dad's reaction to you walking across the wet cement. that is such a telling speaks of a real depth of love and of character. This whole post was a very poignant read. It sounds as though you truly cherish these memories and the innocence they take you back to...
    You write with a rare understanding and an open heart.

  11. @ Martha, Thank you so much, there had been such stress, I am glad the love comes through.
    @ Nelieta, Thank you I'm glad I could stir a happy memory for you.
    @ Colleen, It has taken me a very long time to get here, but I do love those times in my life, I am glad that I was able to forgive him and myself.

  12. Ooo...nostalgia...the smell --is a sensitive sense we all have and it brings back a lot of memories...

    Thanks for sharing such intimate part of you...

  13. What a wonderful moment. I, too love the smell of a pipe. It's so uncommon to smell one anymore and just like you I whip around expecting to see my uncle standing there with an ice cream for me, the pipe in his mouth and the two dogs at his feet.
    Memories are so great when you can pick out a happy one.