What's On Joe's Mind?

I Love the Scent of Wood!

      I always enjoyed the smell of new wood, either at the home improvement center or in the basement. Never quite knew the reason until last week. I recently built a small table for a little t.v. room Christmas train layout, and the only place for it was over a floor-mounted heating vent. The simple table is a combination of just regular interior-grade plywood and inexpensive pine. As I was sitting in the room watching the t.v., the heat kicked on and the warm air blew out from under the newly assembled table. The aroma of the wood, perhaps even some out-gassing of the adhesive used in the manufacturing of plywood, filled the small room. It smelled wonderful to me. Then it hit me! My pleasant association with the smell of the wood is a throw-back to my childhood and the Christmas Garden (Christmas train layout).

     After word from the North Pole got to my parents that they should set up the trains instead of Santa, my father and I would assemble the Christmas layout's benchwork, starting usually just a few days before the 25th of December. I was big for my age and, as early as the age of five, I would help by holding things in place while my father, usually very tired from a long day cutting hair, would bolt the frame together with bolts, wing-nuts, and angle irons. It took several nights to complete the layout. (We didn't even have a regular drill, just a floor polisher that had a chuck to convert it into a drill. Drilling holes was a bit of an ordeal for my father, but I have happy memories of the procedure and its mishaps!) We stored the unpainted lumber in a basement closet and for many years the wood held that characteristic aroma. I always had fond memories of Christmas and the Christmas Garden, but never on a conscious level knew that the scent of wood was a trigger for the warm and happy feelings. (On the other hand, I can't stand the smell of automotive stuff like tires, oil, gasoline, etc., and I attribute that to many unpleasant hours spent waiting at the mechanic's for yearly car inspections and for repairs, like when chipmunks chewed the ignition wiring in my car.)

     So yet another reason to set up a Christmas Garden. A lifetime of happy memories and associations for you and your family!!!

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