Thursday, February 02, 2006


Whoever smelt it dealt it

As I was walking the dog tonight I caught the scent of a fire and it reminded me that I've been meaning to write this post. A few months ago we put together a scrap book for my Pop-Pop. My aunt Beth wrote that smells attach a memory and that she always associated Pop-Pop with WD-40. Even Susan said that smells make a memory- her grandpa smelled of peppermint and pipe tobacco. I've noticed lately how much smell can tie you to stuff. So here are my top 5 favorite smells:

1- Mothballs. Yea I know that's weird. But my grandma had them in all of her closets and their house had the smell pretty much soaked into it. My cousin bought my grandparents' house and said it took them a few months, but the smell is gone. That's one of the reasons I don't want to go see it. I also have a dresser than used to be in grandma's guest room. Sometimes, when I am low on clothes and have to reach in the back to get a pajama shirt, I catch a whiff of mothballs and feel closer to her.

2- Smoke. I love the smell of burning wood. I reminds me a lot of my dad. When we lived in Connecticut we often had fires at night. He made really good fires. And we'd sit in the family room until they went out. We always had a picture with pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns in front of the fire. That was a big thing I missed when we moved to Georgia. We had a gas fireplace, but it's not the same. The same smell comes off a campfire (duh). I love camping and sitting around roasting marshmallows and drinking beers and telling stories or looking at the stars while listening to good music. And when you get home and unpack you have the campfire still in your clothes.

3- Laundry detergent, especially Gain. Clean clothes remind me of mom. She loves to do laundry. Hates most other chores, but loves laundry. And God help the person who messes up the system. She's the one who taught me to soak my whites to keep them whiter. And it reminds me of being little and getting out of a bath or the ocean and being wrapped up with a towel that just came out of the dryer or a beach bag and rubbing my nose in it. That kind of warm and safe feeling.

4- Water. Snow a la Pacey Witter. When you go outside and the air is clear and cold and the inside of your nose hurts. But the smell is so clear and fresh. And once it falls you wet smell and you get all cold and want cocoa. And rain, mainly when it's really hot and you go outside either right when it starts or after a brief shower and it makes the pavement steam. That clean smell. And the ocean- except not the fishy kind. But the kind that mixes the salt and sand and air all into something special and it leaves it's mark on your skin. And pools, the chlorine and cold. I love going into indoor pools and that first blast of chlorine when you go from the locker room to the pool room.

5- Dog. Wet dog smells- I'll give you that one. But when the dog comes home from the groomer's and has shampoo smell, and after she's been home for awhile and goes back to doggy smell, it's something I love. Especially her feet. I don't smell dog feet all the time. Or just any dog's feet- only my 3. They kind of smell like Fritos. I don't know why I am attached to that smell. But sniffing the dog I guess in a way grounds me. Gives me something that will always be there and is comfortable. Like when you have a bad day, all you need to do is put your face on hers and she's there for you.

There are other smells that remind me of people and places. Certain smells that remind me of my mom and siblings and cousins (Juniper Breeze!), but those change. Certain guy deodorants, shampoos, perfumes all remind me of people or things or times in my life. But those 5 smells hit me in a way that the other smells don't.

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