Monday, February 22, 2010


Every now and then there is a scent that wafts by or a song overheard. A brief taste that dislodges distant memories. A moment remembered.

You know the kind of memory of which I speak. They sneak up on you and for a few pleasant seconds you are transported to a time and place that make you smile.

While these memory snapshots are fleeting, there are a few that I hold in special rotation.

The smell of Grape Hubba Bubba
Warm sun. My sister is inspecting the summer reading list - prioritizing which Newbery Award books "we" would read first. List in hand we walked down main street to the public library. A small town affair in a stately, old brick building cooling itself. In through the screen door to the darkened, quiet; sis would check out the maximum allotted stack of books. Back down main street I would trail behind her. Next stop Gray's drugstore where we would stock up on Hubba Bubba, cowtails, bottle caps and giant sweettarts. Once home, the main event of the day began with a lick of the lips and a rattle of the cellophane book cover. Sis began to read outloud.

Polka music
As Secretary of the Senate for the Student Government Association my junior year of college I edited the SGA newsletter every month. Procrastination often found me very early on Sunday mornings plugging away at the computer in the SGA office - read closet - for the Monday deadline buried in the back of the Blanchard Campus Center. That first morning I lost one of my nine lives when the polka music came blasting over the PA system. As I skidded around the corner to the main part of the campus center to see what was happening, I am not sure who was more startled - me or the housekeeping staff. And so we settled into a routine, the staff and I. My very own Sundays in the campus center with polka.

Atlantic Ocean breeze
There is a certain smell possessed by the Virginia section of the Atlantic Ocean. When mixed with the scent of freshly laundered linen and an old school wall air conditioner, you get The Avamere. At least once a year, I am transported there purely by a ghost scent. The Avamere is a past era where the switch board operator listened in to your room and send a messenger to the beach to let you know your baby had awoken from the nap. Where Clarence, the owner, greeted three sometimes four generations of a family summer after summer. Where you dressed for dinner and as a 7 year old you delighted in the glamour of shrimp cocktail. Everyone rocked on the front porch facing the ocean after dinner and we were the early explorers of the 17th Street surf shops. The Avamere is long gone, its comforting facade a hazy memory reflected in the shiny new high rises.

Our sensory abilities give us the gift of survival and pleasure so that we fully engage and enjoy life.

Our senses play so many roles. They warn us, they indulge us, and they guide us.

They show us what is ahead of us.

But perhaps their greatest ability is when our senses remind us of where we have been and what we have been through.

Run, do not walk to get this great jacket for spring and summer. This jacket from White House Black Market will shine at work, star with jeans and make any LBD stand out from the crowd!

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