My dad was a carpenter. I’ve heard that the olfactory sense is the strongest of all, and if I got a whiff of sawdust, pipe tobacco and grilled cheese, I’d be straight back to my childhood, so I suppose it must be true.
When I was twenty, I had a hankering for learning something. There were evening classes not too far away, and I signed up to portraiture (at which I was lousy. I made the model look like an alien. I’m still not sure how), sculpture (at which I made the model look like a cadaver. It wasn’t my intention, but I could only work with what she gave me) and wood carving. It made sense, to see if I had anything in common with my dad. I hoped so, because he was the absolute best of people.
When the teacher convened the class, we were given the choice: we could Carve a dolphin or a leaf. The wood we were using was lime, which could be carved with a butter knife, so we only felt a little bit brave picking the more complicated design.
Most of us went for the dolphin.
It was on the wall until I repainted. Lord knows, it’s probably in a drawer now. Once I find it, it’s going back up.