Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Up in Smoke

I saw a young man smoking a pipe today.

No fooling. A pipe.

Actually I smelled it before I saw it and I whipped my head around expecting to see a much older man. Are pipes back in vogue? And with men under 30?

My Dad smoked a pipe filled with Captain Black. Cherry as I recall. Every Christmas Bubby and I had a clear mission to find him an interesting pipe.

Dad’s heart quit when he was 48.

I was twelve.

Young as I was, some of my memories of him are still very clear.

For instance I remember very vividly Dad sitting in a kitchen chair with his legs crossed, baggie on his head, smoking a pipe.

I feel I should pause here and expound.

1. Dad was a vain man. (With reason, he looked like 50’s Elvis) He hated the prospect of graying so he used the Grecian Formula with regularity. This required processing time, thus the cellophane wrapped around his head.

2. He also crossed his legs at the knee. (Bubby and I would squeal with glee when he’d let us play ‘horsie’ on his leg. He’d buck us off occasionally) Now, here in the Ozarks, crossing your legs is an affectation. You look a little fey. A redneck man will rest the outside of his ankle on the opposite knee. Much more manly or so it seems. My Dad however, was born and raised in Illinois. I’ve noticed that Northern men cross their legs at the knee and there is nothing fey about it.

3. Lastly, he smoked a pipe.

Smell brings back memory like no other sense. A song heard will guide you to places in your past, but a smell will unceremoniously slam you there with no time to think or gather your wits. You’re immediately in the moment and in the emotion.

So pipe smoke makes me melancholy.

But it also gives me Daddy.

4 comments:

Primal Sneeze said...

The poor wee redneck kids - they never get to play horsie. Cruel, I say. Cruel.

Sugar Britches said...

'tis true, Primal. You'll get a lot of chances to play horsie with your young charges, I'd say.

Have fun! You and they will love it.

Anonymous said...

... it is very true, what you say about smells.... and hey, I am sorry that you lost your Father when he AND you were so young....

Eric

Sugar Britches said...

Thank you for the sweet sentiment, Eric!

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