Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Smell Memory

This is more a vignette then an actual story.

When I was young my Dad had a workbench near the basement door.  In that area was also a radial arm saw (that sort of defined the space, as it was the last thing before the washer and dryer), the brick chimney and a wood burning stove.

My Dad kept a scrap barrel.  All the little pieces of wood that he cut off, or pieces he cut wrong, or extra pieces he put in that barrel.

Probably a couple of times a year he would clean up the work area.  Mostly it had been made completely disordered by us.  He would set aside some Saturday, usually in winter or late autumn.

He would start a fire in the old wood stove and burn all the scrap.  He would clean things up and hang up the tools.  Eventually he would sweep up an the whole place would be clean and cozy.

I loved those days.  We would work together to clean up and in the end the results were dramatic.  It made you want to start a new project.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Buzzing Uncle Jeff

Dad, Mom, me, Shawn, the pool, the fence and the Kennedy
I hope I can remember all the Dad and Uncle Jeff stories, but here is one especially for summer.

When Dad was in the CPD, at one time they offered a program for officers who wanted to fly the police helicopter.  Dad applied and had some flying lessons before they canceled the program, probably because of budget constraints.

At the time we had the pool in the backyard on Kostner and the six foot red wooden fence.  The pool was within about two feet of the fence on the south side, facing the Kennedy.  It was fairly common practice for young men to climb out of the pool and onto the fence.  They would then jump into the pool.  I had seen it done many times, but I think that by the time I was old enough to try it, we had replaced that fence with a chain-link (cyclone) fence.

Apparently Uncle Jeff liked to startle Dad when they were younger.  I say startle because, of course Dad wasn't "scared" of anything, but if you jumped out of a hiding place and yelled boo you could catch him off guard and make him jump.

Actually, now that I think about it, the only things Dad was afraid of were Mom and his children.
Ryan on the fence: one of the scary things

Anyway, Uncle Jeff liked to hide and jump out to see Dad jump.

One day while Dad was getting flying lessons in the police helicopter Uncle Jeff was visiting the house and swimming in the pool.  The instructor let Dad fly up the Kennedy and they were going to practice auto-rotating.

Auto-rotating is when the power goes out in a helicopter (the engine dies or some kind of power train failure).  The blades and the system are designed to keep rotating.  As long as you were going a certain speed forward you can ride the free spinning rotor blades safely down to the ground.

They weren't going to land, the instructor was just going to give Dad a taste of how auto-rotating feels.

As it turns out they were very near our house when the instructor turned off the engine.  So, there was Dad, coming in out of the south west and the low afternoon sun in a silent helicopter.  And there was Uncle Jeff climbing out of the pool and standing up on the fence getting ready to jump in.

Dad turned on the loud speaker and said, "HEY YOU, GET OFF MY FENCE!"

Dad said that after that day it never bothered him if Uncle Jeff tried to startle him, because Dad knew that he would never be able to top that.