GETTING MORE TALE #564: The Smell of Home
What does your home town smell like?
I may complain a lot, but I do actually love this town. I was born in Kitchener. I don’t want to live anywhere else. It’s certainly not the greatest town in the world, but it’s mine. Kitchener isn’t known worldwide for its burning hot music scene (polka music at Oktoberfest time excluded). That said we have produced a few local legends:
- Helix (formed 1974) was based out of Kitchener for many years.
- Errol Blackwood and Messenjah are our claim to fame in the reggae community.
- Singer/songwriters Paul MacLeod, Danny Michel, Rob Szabo and Steve Strongman all hailed from here. You also may have heard of one of the greatest bass clarinetists in the world, Kathryn Ladano.
- Bluesman Mel Brown wasn’t born here, but he made it home.
Not a lot to boast about, but better than a kick in the pants.
Kitchener also is not known for its arts (that would be Waterloo) or its education (also Waterloo) or sciences (Waterloo again). What it does seem to have in plenty is a number of distinct smells.
Driving up Victoria street, you can smell the Weston’s bread bakery cooking up lots of delicious scents. My dad has a song he used to like to sing when driving by:
Is full of lead,
If you eat too much,
You’ll surely be dead.”
That was a nice smell, but I remember a far worse smell in the Record Store days.
I spent the majority of my years in the Fairway Road area of town. I remember taking the garbage out on many, many nights and smelling the same unexplainable smell. It only happened during the summer. I don’t even know how to describe it properly. I used to call it “grape flavoured urine” smell. It was a weird mix of grape and pee, and in the evenings taking out the garbage, it was everywhere! What the hell was it? Nobody knew. I haven’t smelled grape flavoured urine in a long time…but I remember it clearly any time I take out the garbage on a warm summer night.
There was an even worse smell when I was transferred to “the wrong side of the tracks”. The garbage bin there was behind a diner. Back there it always smelled of dirty cooking grease.
I hope your town smells better than “grape flavoured urine”, although you don’t have Messenjah or Helix….
Oh and that red poo-shaped sculpture? Nobody has a clue what it is!