As I was driving around on my lunch today, windows down and breathing in the spring air, a certain smell hit me that immediately put me back to being twelve years old, laying on the trampoline while basking in the sun and reading “Matilda” by Ronald Dahl. It was such an extraordinary warmth that I felt remembering one of my very favorite childhood past times. And it was so vivid. I felt like I could reach out and touch that trampoline that was so worn from many, many friends coming over to “jump”.
I am absolutely astounded by the fact that a smell can ignite a memory of special times in my life. It’s almost as if all moments of great emotion have a smell…or a soundtrack. When I smell Sandalwood I immediately think of Jeremy’s old apartment, the apartment where we would sit outside and talk then go back in and eat way too much ice cream. When I hear any older song by Phil Collins, I remember driving in my dads Oldsmobile and singing loudly with him to "Sussuido". When I smell firewood burning, it reminds me of being a teenager at football game bundled up in my American Eagle sweater and waiting for my new crush to talk to me. When I hear a Conway Twitty song, I remember dancing in the bonus room to the Twitty Bird’s Christmas album. When I smell fresh biscuits I always think of my grandmother, memommie, and I remember the absolutely irresistible homemade biscuits and gravy that I would look forward to eating for weeks. And then that memory triggers the memory of my granddaddy praying before we ate, “Amen Brother Ben, shot a rooster and killed a hen.” Amanda and I always thought that was so hilarious. And then there is the smell of freshly cut grass, which makes me think of my mom, in her wooden flip flops, tanktop, shorts and clip in her hair, outside at 8:00am on a Saturday morning mowing the yard and waking Amanda and I up with no shame. Which eventually brought us outside to help pick weeds. And then the smell of a grill going, which reminds me of summer nights, sitting on the deck talking to my dad while he grilled with a can of Budlight somewhere near by. One of my favorite smells is of the lake. This smell takes me back to being little and fishing with my mom and dad, taking home the fish and having a fish fry in the back yard with family and friends. I would always stand close to my dad waiting for a hushpuppy to be done. There is a spot on Gallatin Road where you pass Old Hickory lake and I love to roll my windows down, in the warmer months, and take in that memory.
Jeremy teases about how I have one of the most sensitive noses. This can be a wonderful and horrible blessing. But I suppose, if it means that I can have more memories, then I don’t mind it so much.
"When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered· the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls· bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"
Now, please share with me one of your favorite smells…