Wednesday, July 26, 2006


May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, but never catch up.

No, not that kind of toast.

The bread kind.

I cannot smell it without wanting to eat it.

My daughter's on a 'toast for breakfast' kick right now. So every morning, I'm smellin' toast.

Although if you ask me, what she's eating isn't toast. It's just warmed-up bread.

Toast is supposed to be dark, man. Crispy nut brown, with just enough char on the edges to give it that good smoky taste. If my daughter's bread turns light tan, she starts to complain. And don't get me started on english muffins. Either talking about them or eating them.

Regardless, I've had a bunch of toasty mornings here. Since I've already had breakfast by the time I get the kids up, I try to refrain from sticking a slice or two in the toaster along with hers, but it's damn hard.

Because whenever I smell toast, I want to eat toast.

Taylor thinks it's because the smell of the toast is remisicent of my growing up. I don't know if that's true or not. We didn't usually have toast with our breakfasts.

But it does fit into the evocative nature of scents. We seem to process smells differently than any of our other senses. I don't have the science to back this up, so I may be wrong, but it's my understanding that unlike the other four senses, we use a less 'conscious' part of the brain to recognize smells. We see a flower and recognize it as a lily. If we smell a lily before we see it, we think about Easter Sundays at home or Grandma's funeral, and then realize that there's a lily on the table.

About three years after my Dad died, my Mom was going through his closet looking for something. There were still a few articles of his clothing in the back of the closet. She moved one of his jackets, stopped, and started crying. "It smells like him," she said. I sniffed the jacket. It smelled of coffee, wool, pencil shavings and cologne. Unmistakeably Dad.

It's been nearly thirty years since he died, yet, if someone would put those scents (and probably a few others) together, I'm certain it would take me back to that day in February, when I hugged him for the last time.

What are the scents of your life?



Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

Wow. It's so true.

The smell of hay makes me think that everything is totally right in the world.
The smell of bondo, primer & paint reminds me of my playhouse which was beside the shop.

Here's one: When I was a kid, I played radio station on an old second hand cabinet stereo. It had a smell. Later on there was a PacMan machine in my video store that had it. Musicians in basements had it. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a bar, and just knew instantly that the band's gear had been in many smoky establishments. It's a smell of old tube equipment with a layer of nicotine in it. When you plug in the old Marshall and it heats up, it gets that smell. It's the smell of grime and good times and youth.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Pyrhonik said...

Recently bought a trailer for camper and it has bunk beds for my two brats to sleep. The 3 year old gets the bottom bunk. I put my head in to that space to roust her one morning and that little space was simply thick with the smell of her.

I agree with you, and regardless of science I think that smell accompanies memories in a very powerful way.

I'm glad I bounced here.


1:03 AM  
Blogger Madame X said...

The smell of the ocean on a muggy summer's morning brings back memories of family vacations.
Still to this day if I am not at the sea side, it's not a vacation.

8:01 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

My husband has a smell that's hard to explain, but it's sweet, and I've never met a man that smelled better than him. Other than that, coffee smells like school to me - teachers are huge caffine addicts. Coffee and leather combined is what Colombia smells like.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Babies--the pleasant kinds of smells, milk and baby powder and freshly laundered clothes.

Oranges remind me of the girl who taught me to peel them in one long strip.

Saltwater and jelly sandals.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...

Fresh-cut grass reminds me of summer. When I was 13, I cut grass for the whole summer, paid by the hour. I love that smell!

3:20 PM  
Blogger mal said...

there are several smells that evoke emotional memories for me

the ocean reminds me of all the days my sibs and I spent in the dunes during a very happy time when we were growing up

bacon and coffee, they remind me of mornings in Grampas kitchen. Those were always happy times and the only time we could talk to him

finally, crude oil, it was a smell that was part and parcel of a happily difficult time of my adulthood as well as something from my childhood

Now in my fifties, my sense of smell is fading, but the power of the memories remain

9:33 PM  
Blogger dusty said...

So its a comfort food for you? Cool..I love cinnamon toast. I will kill for a piece of it...well, not really. But I will throw a tantrum for a slice of it, and the smell..divine.

9:58 PM  
Blogger ddumping said...

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6:09 AM  

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