“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”
Today feels as if I’m living in a new world. It is cool and pleasant with no humidity. Last night I didn’t even need the air-conditioner in my bedroom. The next few days will be the same. I’m thinking I’ll be living on the deck for a while, and I suspect tonight’s outside shower might be just a bit chilly.
We had our movie on the deck last night instead of Saturday. Continuing with our Boston film festival, it was The Departed. What was fun, and I’m not referring in any way to that movie, was recognizing scenes from our Boston movie tour last fall. The best one was where Matt Damon, after a rugby match, was sitting on a bench in the Common looking at the state house. In real life, a statue would have been in the way. That’s movie magic.
I’ve written the start of this paragraph three times and deleted each one. I just wasn’t interested in what I had to say. Twice I got up and did something in between. I cleaned the coffee pot and on my second run I moved around a few things I hide behind the TV set. One of those things was a diffuser, and it got me thinking about smells. I have a few favorites. Cookies baking is one of them. I think of my mother and sugar cookies and Christmas. She made them every year, even when we were adults. They were as much a part of Christmas as were our stockings. Turkey roasting is another smell I love. I can see my mother standing hunched over the turkey bulging out of its pan. It always just fit without any spare space. I remember the baster and how she’d use it to suck up the juice then baste all of the turkey. She used to steal a bit of the stuffing, the crusty part at the end. Burning wood is another favorite smell. It reminds me of Ghana. The Ghanaians used wood charcoal for cooking, and I could smell it all over town when I walked. At night, especially, the smell was pervasive. Women sitting along the side of the road cooked and sold food. I was a frequent visitor to the fried plantain aunty, a polite address for older Ghanaian women. From my deck, I can smell barbecue. It makes me want to invite myself to dinner. My dad is the one I associate with that smell.
If I get forgetful in my old age, I hope a smell will trigger a forgotten memory, especially a memory about someone I dearly loved.