Aromas vs. Oders

Have you ever noticed how much your life is affected by what your nose knows?  Everyday aromas, when detected in the correct amount and location, bring back good memories and are able to enliven and beautify your day.

There are the smells associated with flowers after a rain, early morning perfumes, food, fresh mown hay, rain on dust, etc.

And then there are the other kinds.

Walk past a slaughter house or a rendering plant or a pig farm…on a hot day.  Or take a stroll past a stockyard where the animals are walking around knee deep in … effluent product.  Or dig a conduit trench across a stockyard.

One day I was called upon to work on a meat packing plant.  They had a smoke house that needed to be wired.  The wood used for smoking the meat has a nice aroma.  But it wasn’t enough to completely overcome the other smells associated with a meat packing plant, slaughter house and rendering plant.

For making bologna, wieners and sausage, at that time, they would use cleaned animal gut.  Getting the gut from the butchered animal to a cleaned condition produced a not so agreeable odor.

In the slaughtering house there was a separate room with an open blood pit.  As animals were slaughtered the blood would pour into the open pit.  Every so often someone would turn on the steam to cook the blood into a curd.  When I had to walk around that pit I was very careful not to slip or drop any tools into it.

There was also a rendering plant on the grounds.  At the rendering plant they took what was left of the animals and crushed the pieces, bones and all, into a fertilizer.

I noticed they did not place these buildings in close proximity to one another.  There was a good reason for that decision.

Somehow I was always tasked with the jobs in this area.  I guess they thought a “farm boy” could take the odors in stride.

At that particular plant I noticed that there were a large number of Native Americans employed there.  I was impressed with anyone that could work in those conditions, day after day, summer and winter.

A few times my boss’s son was sent to work with me at this plant.  His mother would complain that, for some reason, he wouldn’t eat wieners anymore.

I never invited her to accompany us to that job site.

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