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I Can Still Smell ...

... The Sequel

 

Here is a sequel to my December 8, 2010 column titled,   

In the column, I quoted this line from a BBC story:  “Smell is the only one of our senses directly hard wired to our brain.”

So true. 

Smell and taste are also tied tight together.   Smell pushes and pulls and tugs and jumps our emotions. 

Soon spring will spring – and will have sprung.  As the earth and plants shake off their dormancy and are invigorated and bloom and flower and bud, the air will become permeated and laced with delicate and the mostly delightful scents and perfumes of nature awakening. 

As a kid growing up on Andrews Street, we had in our yard rose, lilac and forsythia bushes – and as the temperatures warmed and the days lengthened, flowers appeared, pinkish and purplish and yellowish, each emitting a pleasing fragrance. 

Smiles – that is what is induced in recalling the scent of the rose, the lilac, the forsythia.  

I was born in 1963, and when I was five and six years old, I would hang out at boys’ basketball practices, as my dad coached the team.He retired from coaching basketball following the 1969-70 season. 

Back then, the high school was in the building where is now.  The gym where the team practiced and played its games had a scent that married dust and floor wax and varnished wood of the bleachers. I suspect it still does. 

Of course, people everywhere relate the coming and maturing of spring with the smell of cut grass, with the first grass cuttings most affecting our feelings.  

Now, you gotta be with me on this – in the “cut grass” category.   Walking or sitting in in the wake of the grass being cut there, and breathing in, that is a very, very nice and welcome assault on the senses. 

I want to state here that I am sympathetic to and keenly aware that for many people, flowering and vegetation sprouting equals the release of pollen and other allergens that can make them miserable.  I’ve battled allergies for most of my life. 

It is simply that I’m looking on the bright side here.

I attended North Easton Grammar School, and in the winter, the building’s heating system, with its cranking and pumping pipes and radiators and all, emitted an odor that was, well, I’m not really sure what is was all about.  It was something of the smell of light burning and fuel.   It was fairly heavy.

All those years ago, especially during the warm months, my buddies and I would play along the banks of Shovel Shop Pond and Langwater Pond and Parker’s Pond, and along the streams and brooks that connected them – and along, and sometimes within, nearby swampy and marshy places.  

These wet and spongy areas have a smell; it’s a mélange of mud and mold and musty plant decay spiked with an essence that rises from the water.   

Okay, now I am reaching out to and inviting you.  There is the comments section following this column.  Please share your thoughts and memories of smells, fragrances, and scents from Easton of yesterday and today. 

Ross A. Muscato February 28, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Kris -- thank you for the kind words, and for sharing your memories.
Ross A. Muscato February 28, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Bill -- super recollection. thanks. growing up in Easton, we knew the distinction between "trash" which was paper and other non-organic waste, and "garbage," the slop and food waste, which, yes, we had collected from the in ground buckets in your back yards.
Ross A. Muscato February 28, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Sinclair -- please see the response above I posted to Bill's comments.
Tom March 03, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I, too, remember the aroma of the Steadfast Rubber plant -- even years after it shuttered its doors. Also, the garbage truck and the garbage truck (two different trucks, one for each kind of refuse) on hot summer days. And who of a certain age can forget the acrid smell after they'd spray for mosquitoes using a scary, hulking former military vehicle with a ginomous bazooka on the back (with some poor soul in a haz-mat suit seated behind it, aiming it into the trees along the side of the street). But the fondest smell of all was the fresh-cut grass of the baseball fields of Frothingham Park. Left-center field (partial shade) smelled the sweetest.
Bob Silva March 03, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Best aromas came from the roasting of carne espit (steak on a stick) at the annual Portuguese festa at the Villa Rosa.

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