Not long ago I got a pizza that came with a special seasoning packet. Curious, I opened it up and got a good size smell of the contents. It was a familiar assault on the senses. It smelled like garlic and freshly cut roadway weeds. So, I tried it and the taste wasn’t that bad. Oh it was bad but not that bad …
Turns out the familiar smell and taste was nearly the same as a Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning blend . . . garlic and herb.
My next cooking project was a boiled dinner consisting of boiled potatoes, two onions peeled, and quartered along with a very nice piece of pork-steak. I do love boiled pork. The boiled dinner was seasoned with a little salt and what I now call the highway weed concoction. It turned out editable, but not really what I was striving for . . . by a long shot.
It took three days to get through most of the large pot of food. There is still one serving bowl left ready for consumption. My Sweetheart, proclaiming not so plausible sickness aversions to food and food products, wouldn’t even taste the all inclusive menu item.
But . . . the tastes and smells of the boiled dinner brought back a lot of memories of my younger years. Oh, memories of hot Tennessee summer days walking down a tree lined bone dry gravel road. Here, I was a pre-teen on a physically demanding quest to see a young lady who wore thin cotton print summer dresses and smelled strangely and very much unexplainably … wonderful.
She had a musical laugh and her sultry voice would trail off softly to an intriguing smile . . .
After four miles or so, I would arrive at the bottom of her front porch hot and tired. My shoes and trouser legs would be covered with a thick coating of grey-white gravel road dust. There were times that I looked very much like a dis-shovelled raccoon.
Often, I would arrive with a small bag of Blackberries that I had picked from the twisted and dangerous vines that grew on each side of the roadway. The object of my affection cared little for the berries, but her Grandfather who occupied a permanent residence at the top step of the front porch loved them. It was my first, but not last, meaningful introduction to out and out bold faced bribery.
With the bribe handed over, and pleasantries extended, I still had to endure a period of questioning. I think every Grandfather and Great Grandfather should remember when they were young.
I answered his enquires with a protective degree of honesty. No … when the doors of the house were closed, I did not look through the keyholes. Yes, yes, no, no, I would reply to his questioning. At that time of my young life the questions about inappropriate touching were confusing and somewhat mysterious. I tried to look as innocent as possible while sweating through my shirt.
After the inquisition, we would walk awkwardly to the high rise at the front of the yard and stand in the shade of the immense oak tree that dominated the property. In a short thirty minutes our visit was concluded and we each took our memories home. It was a summer to remember.
It remains peculiar how a smell, sound or visual stimulation can bring to the forefront strong memories. But the spark from the odor of cut roadway weeds brought back wonderful memories of a long ago love to this Old Guy. Who knew.
And … my lips remain sealed beyond these few details …
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