I’m spending the day at my childhood home while a Lowes installer puts in our new laminate countertops. I’m sitting at a folding table with my back to the work area, minding my own business when I hear the familiar whine of a circular saw.
The ear splitting squeal of steel cutting through plywood takes me back to a day, in this same house, when I was a very small girl. The scent of freshly sawn wood reminds me of my daddy working in the garage on one project or another, and I remember watching him, amazed and impressed that he could make such wonderful things with blocks of wood. At different times in my childhood, he worked on any number of projects in that garage. He and a friend made wooden frames for a craft shop in Pasadena. The frames had routed edges, and oval openings in the center with the same routed detailing. Then there were the built in shelves he made for the closets in our home, to make them more storage efficient. And bookcases. And the wall shelf he made me with a bar for hanging a quilt.
Probably the wildest thing he ever built that involved the scent of sawdust was the wing for a Stevens Acro plane flown by Doc Eoin Harvey, and later Debby Rihn. Over the years, Rihn modified the plane because what competition pilot doesn’t want to make their wings better, stronger, faster? But my daddy was a big part of the original dream and when I smell the scent of sawdust, I think of that project and the sheer enjoyment he derived from working on that wing.
Who knows if the next family to live here will be craftsmen, woodworkers like my daddy? I’d like to think, however, some residual bit of sawdust will float through the air, revealing itself in sunbeams shining through the garage windows. And the new family, completely unaware, will be inspired by that fine little bit of fairy dust known by average mortals as sawdust.