Friday, October 16, 2009


This afternoon I went to Smith's Fuel Center to get gas in my car. The 'low fuel' light has been on for a few days. I know this would send my mom into a panic. We grew up with it drilled in our heads that you didn't let your car or truck get under 1/2 tank of gas. There was perfectly good reasoning to this too. Where I grew up, the gas stations close around 7 or 8 and back then the pumps didn't have a card reader. If the station was closed, you didn't get any gas. My mom's reasoning behind the 1/2 tank rule was that if there was an emergency in the middle of the night, you could make it to the nearest hospital (Richfield) in an hour with enough gas. Nowadays there are card reading gas stations at home, but still not a hospital!

Anyway, back to the Smith's Fuel Center. I had all my kids in the car and we were headed to the park on this beautiful afternoon. Everyone was in a good mood. When I pulled up in the bay, I noticed a truck one bay over. It was loaded to the hilt with big bags of wool. Yes wool, like sheared from a sheep wool. I little smile came over my face and I immediately had a few memories flood over me.

First memory - playing on some wool bags stacked in my dad's shop awaiting transport to somewhere. There were a crowd of us jumping and climbing all over them and having a truly splendid time. I fell off and landed on my back on a board with a nail in it. I thought I was going to die. Seriously, I thought I was a dead little girl, and I acted that way too! I remember the feeling of disappointment when my mom inspected me and I didn't even loose any blood! Not even one dot!

Second memory - this is many memories all meshed together but I remember tromping wool with my cousins and getting ticks. We used to hang a big tall wool bag up on one end, it seemed like 30 feet long but it was probably 10 or 12 feet maybe. My dad, uncles, and grandpa would gather the wool they sheared off the sheep and throw it into the bag with us silly girls in the bottom of the bag. We would giggle and work the wool down from over our heads, down to our chests, past our knees, and finally "tromp" the wool with our feet. The purpose of our very important job was to smash as much wool as we could into one bag. After a day of tromping wool, we would be checked for ticks. I remember one at the nape of my neck and one in my forearm. Funny the things we remember. I also think my tromping wool days has something to do with my EXTREME claustrophobia!

Back to the fuel center -
All of these memories plus more (the first time my brother got to shear and the blood that spewed forth from that poor sheep) ran through my head as I was punching in my pin number along with all the other numbers I have to push into that dang machine just to get some gas. I put the nozzle in my tank and walked over to the truck with a big smile on my face. I knocked on the passenger window to a lady that was in her 60s. She opened the door and I said "Are those wool bags?" She smiled and said "yes." Then I did something that would have embarrassed Matt to the very core if he would have been there. I said "Can I just have a little wiff. That is my childhood and I want to smell it." She started laughing and said "Sure, just grab a handful." I replied with "No, I just want to sniff it."

I walked to the back of the truck and looked for a good spot to shove my nose. There just happened to be a little 2 inch tear in one of the bags. I took a deep breath and smelled it, then grabbed a little pinch of it. I walked back to the passenger window, knocked, and showed her my pinch of wool. She smiled a super sweet smile and apparently she was explaining it all to her husband because he was climbing in the truck laughing.

I got in my car after I took care of the gas thing and just rubbed that little bit of my childhood through my fingers. I could smell it, I could feel the silkiness and softness of the lanolin immediately, I could feel the courseness of the texture, and I started to get a big lump in my throat and a little tear ran out of the corner of my eye. What super memories I have of those days.


Jenny said...

Rachel, you are a beautiful kind of person. I love that you want to smell memories of your childhood. I also love that in 10 years you will think back at memories of us and our friendship and smile!
I know everytime I smell a nasty fart I will think of you and Amanda!

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh!!!
thanks alot!

hee hee hee


meliser said...

It makes me sad sometimes that my kids are growing up in a "city" and aren't having a farm experience. Those kind of memories are more poignant than a trip to Disneyland.

Anonymous said...

Wow! How posititve you can be. The next time we shear I am calling you to come help. I would rather go to work than smell a stinky sheep or smell like a stinky sheep. Hopefully my kids have memories like you of the sheep and not memories like me. We won't make you tromp though, machines are too efficient. We will let you be the bagger though and then Matt can check you for ticks!

Mari said...

I am smelling the wool right now. I miss the chill in the morning as we started shearing, fighting over who was in the the bag and who had to tie the sheared wool. The best thing for me was that we missed school and for lunch my dad would go get Janeal's and we would sit on the tailgate of the truck and eat and share shakes with each other. I wish my dad still had sheep so I could FORCE my kids to experience this too.

mom said...

Oh my gosh,,the smell of sheep almost makes me wanna barf,(do people say barf any more?),,,,but I guess the smell of wool, and childhood memories is really a cool thing. After reading your story, I actually felt a tear running here too.
I am glad that you do have happy childhood memories, even if it is from a smelly ole sheep. LOLOLOLOl

TORI said...

I loved tromping wool! I can only imagine what we sounded like to the adults--with all of our giggles coming out of the bag. and thosse bags did seem 30 feet long!! But, Altons sheep were evil! One took me out in the chute--literally headed butted my belly to get around me--it lifted me up and went right under--I thought I was a dead little girl.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane--I am also a sniffer of anything horse related.

Anonymous said...

I like that your memories of the sheep, shearing, lambing and taking care of them are good ones.
I kept the sheep around to help me teach you kids about life and the satifaction you get from work and responsibility. I think they did just great!!!, but I don't miss them.



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