Like all furniture moving, the placement of the gun cabinet in my home office wasn’t without struggle. We had to haul it in then carefully wind it through the hallways, stairways and doorways without damaging the walls or the cabinet itself. And there ensued the typical discussion between my bride and myself as to exactly where it would look the best yet provide the best functionality, etc.—nothing heated, just conversation.
I know a gun safe, or, at least, a more secure location, is far better for storing guns these days, but this is a special piece of furniture to me. For you to look at it you’d notice nothing unusual; in fact, nothing truly distinguishes it from any other 1970s-era glass-fronted gun display cabinet. Though many were lined with green or red felt, this was one has wood finish throughout. Other than that, it’s just a gun cabinet.
Yet it is far more than that to me. It’s a special part of an inheritance that came to me because my paternal grandparents’ homestead was sold, and the contents auctioned off. I am fortunate they are both still around and in a place now where they are having their needs met. This cabinet is where my grandfather kept his prized firearms; the ones I eyed so longingly yet respectfully.
This isn’t an attempt at sympathy or a sob story, but rather one of fond memories. I inherited a few items from them, all of which are treasured possessions that remind me of them and my childhood spent with them. Many of my favorite memories are times that I spent with them, either in the outdoors with my grandfather or in the kitchen with my grandmother creating delicious meals from what we dragged home.
With the gun cabinet finally positioned to our liking, I reached out and turned the key to open the door. It was the first time I’d opened it in years. The escaping air hit me like a wall, and I slammed the door back shut.
My wife looked at me like I’d seen a ghost, then she was concerned there was something wrong. “What?” she said.
For a moment I was speechless then managed to stammer, “Nothing! Nothing, but did you smell that?” I just couldn’t believe this wood and glass box held such a wonderful, powerful smell. So I sneaked the door open again, and took a deep whiff!
There it was—that wonderful, wonderful aroma—the perfectly preserved smell of my grandparents’ home.
The memories flooded back, carried on the odor of wood, gun oil, a bit of must, with a touch of vanilla, and flour. It is an odd combination, but one that instantly pulls me to my roots and delivers sweet memories of my youth. I explained all this to my better half, and being as close to her family as I am to mine, she understood and shared what smells she remembers of her own childhood.
The infamous “they” say smell is one of the greatest triggers for memories, and I believe they are absolutely right. I hope the gun cabinet never relinquishes this smell, and whenever I need a moment of solace I can reopen it and smell my childhood all over again.
Author’s Note: In the spirit of full disclosure and since chances are good his tales and remembrances will show up here, visitors to UndertheBigPine should note that as much as he may wish he were, freelance outdoor writer and editor Brett Miller is not kin to Bill Miller the founder of UndertheBigPine.com.