Friday, August 05, 2011


 A bolt of lightening as wide as a freeway struck somewhere too close to our house while we ate dinner. Before our eyes adjusted after the strike, the lights flickered out. A moment later we had 5 five dogs in our laps. 
I should have the lot of them rendered into candle wax at the hide and tallow plant.
Just thinking of the hide and tallow plant causes my stomach to lurch a little. Many years ago when I first started working with MaBell, dispatch called in a trouble report on Powder Plant Road. All the other guys who only moments earlier were idle, were suddenly very busy. 
I took the call. The report said "CAN RECEIVE CALLS, BUT CAN'T BE HEARD".  The phone was at the hide and tallow plant out on Powder Plant Road. I'd never taken a call there, but I copied down the address and headed out there.
I started smelling the H&T plant a mile or more before I pulled into the parking lot. When I arrived, the stench was almost unbearable. 
I didn't know it at the time, but the hide and tallow plant took dead horses, cows, possums, skunks, or any other roadkill animals and rendered them down to tallow. You can Wikipedia tallow and read for yourself what it's all about.
Anyhow, I located the defective phone on the loading dock. I took one look at the oozing handset and immediately know what was causing the problem. I held my breath as much as possible and replaced the defective phone.
As I rushed toward my truck, a worker was sitting on the edge of the loading dock eating a potted meat sandwich. 
He smiled when he saw that I was green around the gills. "See you in a few weeks," he said in a chipper voice. Apparently the phones there have a very short life expectancy.
I took the cord of the old phone, wrapped it around the trailer hitch on my truck, and drug it back to the work center. There was NO WAY I was hauling that disgusting phone in my truck.
The next time a call came in from Powder Plant Road, I got busy in a hurry.
I know it's a long stretch from a bolt of lightening to a disgusting tallow memory, but there you have it.
By the way, I love my dogs and I would never make candles out of them.


  1. :) Too funny.
    What great memories you have;)

  2. Oh ewwwww!!!!
    and thanks for a good laugh!

  3. Oh heck - i have smelt that odour once, driving near a tallow-rendering factory - you have managed to bring it back into my nostrils. Yeeecchh!

  4. I have never smelled that particular odor and I'm glad I haven't now I've read your story!

  5. Ew.

    I love how suddenly all the other guys were busy and you had to take that call! LOL!

    Hugs to your doggies!

    Take care

  6. Oh dear me, I guess you still remember the smell since you managed to get it over so intense. And I know about dogs and storms, our Naila is always afraid and trembeling!

  7. Ewww! Glad that I haven't smelled something like that especially after how you describe it.

    Our Leonardo (a golden retriever) sleeps with my boss even just during the rain. It terrifies him!


  8. That must have been as bad an my brother who pumped cess pools for a living and would eat lunch in his truck with the flies all around him and splatter on his uniform. He was in his young 20s and made good money at that job. But when he came home I ran until he showered and threw his uniform in the washer. Good story.

  9. Yuck! I have real trouble dealing with bad smells, and even thinking about them makes me feel slightly sick!

  10. I can't believe I blogged about hide and tallow. What was I thinking?
    The power was off for most of the night due to a thunderstorm so I was pressed to come up with a topic before bedtime.
    Thanks for all your comments, you guys are the best:)

  11. I'm going to look up Tallow -we had something smelling awful in our dryer and we finally got 'something' out of it.

  12. Electric, lightning, outages, has been my life this summer. I can sympathize. Hope it's all better now. I did not know about the candle maker stench. However, I have smelled many bad things in surgery...many. I think I'll not go to any candle maker factories. ever.

  13. Eww. That was a disgusting job. I guess it's one only the new guys will take care of - because they don't know any better!


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