Has anyone else noticed the strange twitch Powell residents have developed of late?
When the wind is blowing a certain direction, people all over town can be seen stopping dead in their tracks, covertly bending their heads down to determine if a smell is emanating from their armpits. Satisfied that the odor is not, after all, coming from their armpits, they resume their progress. But, wait — there's that smell again, followed by an encore of the whole stop, bend, sniff and continue routine.
On second sniff, it's not body odor, but rather the pervasive, powerful stench of rotting piles of beans beside Coulter Avenue.
But the twitch persists ... the smell is that bad.
Rumor has it that when the bean mill burned in 1966, the same overwhelming, fetid odor took over the community.
Apparently, it got so bad that an addendum to the “Welcome to Powell” sign on the edge of town said something like, “It smells like something died here, but it's just the beans.”
Unlike the familiar, almost nostalgic, odor of sugar beets in the fall, the smell of rotten beans is becoming unbearable — especially for the poor souls who have to live or work adjacent to the mess. But, come to think of it, maybe they're actually the lucky ones. If they stay where they are, they'll eventually get used to the smell, right? Kind of like when you're smelling candles in a store, and after about the fifth one, your sense of smell quits, well, sensing.
But for those of us who live or work several blocks away from the putrid pile, the stench sneaks up on us like a stalker in the night. One minute, the back door at the Tribune is wide open and we're enjoying the sweet promise of summer.
Then — WHAM! — there it is, stealthily invading ...
The other day, in a moment prior to recognition, I actually wondered, “Wow, what shoes am I wearing to make my feet smell so bad?” I glanced down, saw the usual warm-weather flip-flops, and then (with some relief) it hit me.
The foul, gag-inducing reek of the languishing legumes had once again crept into the building.
The wonderment got me again when I got in my car later that afternoon — what is that awful smell? The answer that time was all too clear.
Our managing editor, whose phobia of vomit is well-known in our office, related that, on a recent trip across town, the smell of the decomposing beans gave her mother a gagging fit.
“Do not throw up in my car,” she threatened her poor mother, who managed to keep her cookies intact. But the incident highlights how bad it really is.
Please — someone, anyone — spare the good folks of Powell and move those beans.
Otherwise, another addendum to the Welcome sign may appear soon. How does, “Welcome to Powell. Now take some rotten, smelly beans and go home!” sound?