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My Memory Takes a Trip…An Auditory/Olfactory Experience

Story ID:9167
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon Montana USA
Year:2013
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My Memory Takes a Trip…An Auditory/Olfactory Experience
By Chuck Dishno
August 2013

My Dad, Ed Dishno, was without a doubt the greatest man I ever knew and even though he has been gone for 54 years, the memories I have of him are just as vivid today as when I was a young boy. I was his only child and our bond started the day I was born. I had two half-brothers, but I was Pop’s boy.

Pop was a hard working timber faller and I would be at the back door every day waiting for him to come home. In anticipation for him to walk through the door, Mom would put a block of wood in front of a kitchen chair in order for him to take off his hobnail boots without punching holes in the linoleum floor. I would climb onto his lap and get my nightly hug. I would put my nose on his shirt and inhale the aroma of sawdust, coal oil and sweat. It was wonderful.

After Pop got his boots off, Mom would lay out he slippers and put basin of warm soapy water for him to clean up before dinner. (We didn’t have indoor plumbing at that time.)

After Pop had washed up he would change into his town clothes and about that time, from the kitchen would come the sound or rattling dishes and the smell of Mom’s great cooking.

After dinner Pop would sit in his easy chair and read the newspaper and a story or two from the current Reader’s Digest after which he would listen to the latest news on the radio. This was my time to sit on his lap and smell the soap residue left behind from his washing. At a certain time Pop would get up and say he was going downtown to visit the other loggers at the local beer joint or pool hall.

After he left Mom would start getting me ready for bed. About nine o’clock, Pop would return home and even though he didn’t smoke or drink beer, there would always be the smell of residual smoke from his friends. Then we would all gather around the radio and listen to our favorite radio programs. After an hour or so, I would head for bed and Pop and Mom would play either cribbage of pinochle for another hour. I would drift off to sleep to the sound of their arguing over those stupid cards. By the time I woke up the next morning Pop would be having his breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs. He would invite me to join him and I watched as he consumed mountains of pancakes. The smell of Mom cooking breakfast is one I will never forget. All the while as we were eating, Mom was packing his lunch pail. Then with a quick hug and kiss, Pop was out the door and I was left with the sweet smell of a loving father and anxiously waiting for his return that evening where the scenario would play all over again.

One of a young boy’s ambitions is to spend a day at work with his dad and mine was no exception but I was too young and Mom would never relent.

I turned 7 in August and one Friday evening, Pop said he had to work a half day Saturday and wondered If I would like to spend the day at work with him. Holy Timber!!! My prayers had been answered. Mom wasn’t too hot on the idea but she knew that Pop would never let anything happen to his chum.

I got up early with Pop the next morning and found that Mom had laid out my new bib overalls my pair of high top boots and a pair of leather gloves. After a hearty breakfast, Pop and I were ready for work. Mom had packed Pop’s lunch pail and a special one for me. With a kiss from Mom, I knew it was going to be a special day.

It took us about 45 minutes to reach the logging site and as soon as we arrived, Pop got right to work, taking out his falling saw he gave the teeth a few whacks with a small file then told me to stand over by a stump and keep out of the way. He then sawed an undercut in a large ponderosa pine after explain to me he had to place it just right in order to make the tree fall the right direction. After he was satisfied with the undercut he started sawing on the other side, making large spiral shavings come out with each pass of the blade. Every so often Pop would take from his back pocket a long-neck beer bottle filled with coal oil and stoppered with a bunch of pine needles. He would sprinkle this coal oil on the side of the saw blade to keep it from sticking. Pop also had a supply of long wooden wedges that he would tap, with the flat side of his axe, into the cut to keep the tree from settling down and pinching the saw blade. In no time at all the tree began to groan and lean in the direction Pop had predicted. After a final groan it fell with a whoosh and a crash. I was parked far from danger and when the tree fell and jumped up and down while clapping my hands and yelling at the top of my lungs.

Pop said that after the tree was down, that was when the real work began. He hopped up on the log and began to cut off all the exposed limbs with his super sharp axe. After he had limbed the entire length he used his axe as a measure to measure the log into 21, 16, and 8 foot lengths. After this was done he took out his bucking saw and began to cut the tree into useable lengths. I didn’t do much since I was so small so I just sat on a stump and watched my Pop perform his magic.

About mid-morning Pop said we would only work until noon so we had better eat some of our lunch now. I was all for this and couldn’t wait to see what special lunch Mom had made for me. As I recall it had two P B & J sandwiches along with a few Vienna sausages and lots of toilet paper. Mom knew how to take care of both ends of her boy. All too soon it was time to pack up and head home. That wonderful day had filled my head with a memory that would live for as long as I will.

On returning home I told Mom all about my wonderful adventure and how proud I was to see my Pop at work. I also thanked her for the great lunch and extra T.P.

Now fast forward about 35 years…

Roz and I lived in Clovis, CA on about 5 acres. One day I was in the back yard by the barn and heard an un-mistakable sound. It was like a cross-cut saw going through a log. As soon I heard the zip, zip, zip, my thoughts came back of that first day in the woods with my beloved Pop and the sound of him cutting down a large tree. Instantly the smell of coal oil and sweat filled my memory nostrils and once again I was re-living that wonderful day. I looked around but could never see, hear or smell that fleeting moment again. Perhaps it was my Pop reminding me of the good old days.

Hopefully someday, when I pass through those Pearly Gates and take my first step into Heaven, the first thing I will listen for is a distant a zip, zip, zip. Then I will know I have arrived and will soon see my dear old Pop again.