Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Old Hickory

(My Grandparent's fireplace in the background. My Dad, myself, and my son.)

Ever notice how a smell can take you through a time warp? Have you ever had a whiff of something that made you remember something long filed away in the brain? The sense of smell is a strong one. It's powerful, memory-wise.

One scent that takes me back to childhood is the comforting smell of hickory wood in a fireplace.

My Grandma and Grandpa have a fireplace. Grandpa is gone now, and it hasn't been used in a long time. I can remember from very early on the blazing fire at their house. They had a giant screen like thing (that's stashed in their basement/boneyard of old stuff no longer used) that kept sparks of embers form flying out. Then, when I was 10 or so, they got a fancy fireplace. It had iron doors and windows. I liked the old open one best.

Grandpa was very particular about the type of wood that was burned. Only hickory. It made the most declicious smell. I LOVE it. In their woods behind their house, he'd search out old, dying trees to cut down for firewood. It was a science. And an art. It couldn't be too young, or dead. Then the wood would be split and stacked in a uniform fashion in a special holder thing that was the size of a small shed. It had a cover on the top to keep the wood dry.

Even in the summer, their house smelled like the "fire" smell. I have grown to love that scent. Their house is the closest thing to my childhood home that I have, since we moved so many times. If I smell burning hickory, I always think of their home, and Grandpa. It sucks me back into childhood in an instant.
Grandma's barely holds that smell these days, as it's been several years since the fireplace was used last. I wish she'd have a fire at Thanksgiving for old times' sake. But it usually isn't cold enough by then.

I wish there was a Yankee Candle of it.
What scent holds powerful memories for you?


jenn said...

What a lovely memory! I love catching the whiff of woodsmoke these chilly fall mornings while I'm taking my walks. It's such a cozy smell.

Caffeine Court said...

I love that picture!

It's incredible how many memories a smell can bring back.

I've heard they have incense that smells like firewood. I'm not sure if it's hickory but if I ever find it I'll buy it for you!!!