When I first started riding the bus, I was only 8 years old. And it took me to a town called Keisterville, which nobody ever pronounces like that. We called it Keister. It was only a couple of miles from Smock, but to me, it felt like I was on the dark side of the moon.
As we rode the bus, we had older kids on board that were headed for the Uniontown Senior High School. One of those passengers was a guy who was considered "slow". Let's call him Jinxy. Jinxy was our official 21 year old senior but had a heart of gold, unless you crossed him or made fun of him.
In the Smock of the 1950's, there were two popular brands of smoking tobacco. One was called Half & Half, although I really never figured out which half was which, but I knew that before it found it's way into my grandfather's pipe, it smelled glorious. I sometimes had the honor of twisting off the metal ring that locked in the freshness and sticking my nose in that can. It's one of the things you never forget.
The other pipe tobacco was called Cutty Pipe. If you see old pictures of Irish leprechauns smoking those clay pipes with the long, curved stems, those are actually called Cutty Pipes. But there was a brand of tobacco called that too.
So one day, the seniors of Uniontown High took to smoking pipes, and Jinxy was not going to be left behind. So, he took up the habit which began on the back of the bus. A guy could get away with this violation of the rules especially in the warmer weather since all of the bus windows were down and you can hide behind the tall seat backs and smoke.
One day, Jinxy was smoking his pipe in the back of the bus and I noticed that each time the bus hit a bump in the road, Jinxy's head would bob up and down and his eyes would roll back into his head. I did not know this, but this was a desired effect. So I went back to the rear of the bus and said "Hey Jinxy, what's that you're smoking?" He said "Half Cutty Pipe, half Half & Half. I went insane with laughter which was great for me, but it hurt Jinxy's feelings which prompted him to put me into a headlock and began to beat the top of my head with his clenched fist. It took 3 guys to get him off of me.
Today, on the ride home, I got on the bus and realized that some things never change. The person sitting in the seat just ahead of me had applied something similar to my Grandmother's favorite perfume, Avon's "Here's My Heart" which smelled like a flower shop straight from hell. She also smelled like she applied it using a Wagner Power Sprayer set to "Fog". Behind me was another person who must have had the More Garlic Pizza from Garlic Brothers.
Mix those two smells and you have something that makes you drop to your knees and be grateful that the ride was only 20 minutes.
I really longed for the smell of half Cutty Pipe and half Half & Half.