Saturday, June 15, 2013

Smells Like Summer

“Mom, smell this!”
My 9-year-old, Sadie, shoved a bright gold and maroon marigold right up under my nose.

“It smells just like summer!” she said, then danced off through the yard.

Summer has its own smells, doesn’t it? The smell of honeysuckle vines takes me back to my Great Aunt Stella’s house where I stayed when school was out. When it got hot (which was pretty early in the morning in North Carolina), my cousins and I would wade in the little creek that ran through the front yard. On the honeysuckle-covered banks, we would try to catch minnows and make mud pies for our pretend restaurant – which we (aptly) named “Gravy Country” because of all the mud gravy we served over our rock biscuits. Later we’d pick hot grapes from the vines in the backyard. The purplish-blue skins would burst open with sweetness in my mouth – they even tasted like summer.

The smell of hot asphalt reminds me of the “burning feet dance” I would do as I walked barefoot across our driveway. I’d reward my tingling (singed) feet in the cool grass by the pool. I remember the smell of my tanned skin, the chlorine from the water and the towels fresh from the dryer.

The smell of sawdust and motor oil transports me to the shady garage behind our house where my daddy would work on cars during the summer – I’d bring him a glass of cold sweet tea when it was really hot outside. I remember the smell of the lemons, the sweat of the ice on the glass and the sweat on my hardworking daddy’s white v-neck T-shirt.

The smells of fresh sliced cucumbers, along with tomato biscuits, always take me immediately to summertime – even when it’s the dead of winter.

I wonder what smells are going to take my kids back to their childhoods? Back to… well… now?

Marigolds? Warm cobbler made from cherries from our tree? Blue raspberry popsicles from the freezer in the garage? The sizzle-y smell of burnt out sparklers? The juicy smell of a newly sliced watermelon? The earthy smell from helping in their Grandma’s garden?

Or maybe they’ll remember the smell of fresh-cut grass and the gasoline smell from sitting on their dad’s lap on the mower. Or the acrid smell that lightning bugs leave on their little hands when they let their captives soar to freedom. Or maybe the smell of the fresh-from-the-field strawberries from the farm where we pick every year. Or the fizzy-lemon-lime smell from the “spritzers” their Grammie makes them when it’s hot outside.

Maybe they’ll remember the tantalizing smell of their dad’s smoker as it teased us all day long with the delicious smell of ribs or brisket until it was finally dinnertime.

Right now, my kids are outside in the warm sun, breathing in their own summer memories. Breathe deep, my sweet babies. These memories are going to last you for a lifetime.

So breathe deep.

--from my 6-15-13 post for