Smells like family having my back

Woodchips. Whenever I smell woodchips I’m brought back to summers working at a mansion on a lake up north. I lived there and did odd jobs that a groundskeeper might do. One of those was building a woodchip path along the water from the boathouse to the three-story(!) treehouse.

I was given a pitchfork and a four-wheeler with a trailer and worked away at a massive pile of woodchips. I spent the summer forking load after load into the trailer, and driving to the water to unload load after load. The pile got really hot in the summer and when I would stick the pitchfork in, the hot cedar smell became intense. Sometimes I would hit a bee colony and would have to make a run for it.

Another time, my expert ATV skills sent me straight into the lake. Wheels fully submerged, the frame had landed on a rock below the surface and I couldn’t get it to budge. Luckily, I was able to recruit my family to save me. They drove for an hour to the cottage, pulled me out of the lake, and then together, the five of us finished the entire cedar path! I was so grateful for the help and to be done with that job. I didn’t even think about how surprised the owners of the property would be later that weekend when they showed up and the path had been completed! I never told them that my family had come to their cottage, or that I had driven their ATV into the lake. The price of this secret was that the bar of their expectations was forever raised on what I could accomplish on my own!

Now, whenever we go through a garden center, or a playground with woodchips, the smell takes me back to that job, the lie I kept, and how my family saved the day.

Written for Bloganuary promt 16: Do you have a memory that’s linked to a smell?

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