Sunday, October 26, 2008

Smells I Love

Okay, so I am a smeller. I have a great sense of smell and stamp my memory with smells. I have noticed Andrew is the same way. "Let me smell it" he always says, and I let him because I totally understand. He loves to smell things while we are cooking and I see him breath in and taste from the smell alone. The nose is a powerful piece of the puzzle for creating opinions, assessing scenarios and, creating memories.

Here are some of my favorite (and, you are going to think I am nuts) smells from childhood and what they mean to me:

1) Skunk and Cow Manure. Ahhh, the smells of the country. What is so great about those smells? When I grew up in Carmel, it was mostly cornfields. Today it is one of the fastest growing communities in the country. Skunks and cow manure bring back images of wide open fields, flying kites in the corn fields and playing flashlight tag after dinner in the summer. If it was warm, if you could smell cow poop, we were outside. Riding bikes at dusk, fishing in the lake, buying fresh sweet corn from the farm stand up the street and writing on the driveway with chalk. Those smells were the backdrop of my summers.

2) Vick's Vapo-Rub. I am probably not alone in this one. All warm and menthol-y. Whenever I was sick (which I seemed to always have strep throat or some bad cold), my mom would rub the good old goopy kind on my chest at night and lay one of my dad's handkerchiefs over it so it didn't get all over my nightgown. I loved that.

3) Fresh Drywall and Saw Dust. My dad was a builder and our house was forever under construction. I woke up most Saturday mornings in my childhood to the sound of a saw blade out my window and the smell of fresh sawdust. Progress--it always meant something new at our house. If not at our house, then I smelled it at my dad's jobs. I would sometimes ride around with him while he checked on each job--my favorite Saturday pastime.

4) Boiling Potatoes. Don't think they smell? They do. I could always smell them just as the water started to boil. It meant one thing--hot mashed potatoes were on the way. I love comfort food and just the smell of it gets all my memories flowing. Chicken and noodles at my grandma's house, the bacon for the green beans, yeast rolls.

5) Snow. You know that smell? The smell when the air is crisp and damp? You know snow is coming and the clouds grow heavy and gray. I love the smell of the air and the anticipation of watching the flakes fall. We used to play in it for hours, building forts, digging tunnels, sledding at the Butcher's house then when we came in drinking hot chocolate and sitting by a fire.

What are your favorite childhood smells?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this post should tell about the smells you hate, you could start and finish with your husband!!!!