Monday, July 26, 2010

Smell Bank

Uh...hi. I've missed you all. Sorry about my absence. I've been've been reading the Twilight saga. I know, I know, I KNOW. Please don't say anything. I know how awful that is to most of you. those of you it's not awful to are probably going, "YAYYY HE CAVED". I know at least two of you are. You know who you are...

Anyway, today's post is about smells. And how smells affect me. Are you intrigued yet? Keep reading, it gets weirder. 

I know everyone has a Smell Bank that they hold near and dear to his or her heart. You may call it by a different name, but it's all the same thing. It's that collection of various smells that instantly triggers a memory, a thought, or a particular feeling. Or all of the above. You know what I'm talking about, right? Well today, because it's Monday, and because it's hot outside, and because I'm eating cashews and drinking a beer on the Old Lady Couch, I'm going to share some of my Smell Bank with you.

The smell of diesel exhaust in the summertime. Not just a diesel pickup, either. I'm talking heavy machinery. Back hoe, loader, tractor, FARM EQUIPMENT, MAN! It reminds me of my summers at the farm, which I miss. Horribly. I seriously considered foregoing college and just going back to the farm to work. It's a secure job, it's something I LOVE doing, and my uncles need help. Like, seriously. My cousins are all grown and have their own lives, and as anyone who grew up on a farm knows, when the kids don't work there anymore, the work force is severely impacted. It's just my uncles and my Uncle R's two sons. And Grandpa, but he's 86, and he sorta does what he wants. And we don't argue with that. It USED to be my two uncles, Grandpa, my Uncle R's 3 kids, my Uncle D's 4 kids, me, my cousin Big Fella, Big Fella's little brother, Little Big Fella, and my sister. During the summers, anyway. But yeah. I miss the farm.

The smell of asphalt in the sun. This is another summertime smell. Dad used to work road construction, and he would come home smelling like asphalt in the sun. During the most impressionable time of my childhood, that was just how Dad smelled. To this day, I can't drive down the Kansas highway during the summer without thinking of my Dad. Every time. :)

The smell of IBP in the winter. I know that this one is weird, but just go with me on this. Mom worked at IBP/Tyson for 20-something years. When I was really little, she worked in an office on the slaughter side of the plant. Slaughter side has a very distinct smell. It doesn't smell like death or anything like that, but the rendering and the slaughter processes just have a very distinct smell. Anyway, a very very vivid memory of mine is Mom coming to pick me up from the sitter's, and I would run and give her a hug, of course. She had a green IBP jacket that she wore in the winter time, and my little self just loved that jacket. I have no clue why, other than it smelled like Mom. I just remember burying my face in her jacket, and smelling her perfume, the distinct smell of IBP, and the cold air outside, and it was the best smell in the world. My sister has this particular smell in her Smell Bank, too. Mom hates that we identify the smell of IBP with her, but we can't help it. Any mother's child will tell you that their Momma never smells bad. She just smells like Momma.

Spearmint in the rain. Grandma Smith always had fresh spearmint in her garden. I would always go walk through her garden when it was misty and foggy outside, down at the farm. During the spring, usually. April-ish. You all know those misty/foggy April-ish days, right? I know you do. Anyway, this smell sticks with me because of one particular day. I was walking through Grandma's garden in the mistyfog, thinking, because I did that a LOT when I was younger, and I looked over and saw a rabbit in the spearmint patch. Weird, right? I know. But anyway, I went over to get a closer look, and realized that walking on the spearmint bruised it just enough to cause the air to EXPLODE with the smell of spearmint. It was such a good smell to me, then. I could smell the rain and I could smell the dirt of the garden and I relished in the smell of the spearmint. To this day, I still catch whiffs of spearmint in the rain, and it always makes me smile. :)

I think I will leave my little dive into the Smell Bank here, for tonight. Who knows, I may share more some other time. I've definitely got loads of smells to share. Do any of you have any smells that just make your life complete? Go ahead and share, if you want. :)

Hasta luego!
Jimmy Dean Buffett McHoulihan


  1. Smell Bank is a new term -- love it. My mom worked at a vet clinic for 30 years and throughout my whole childhood/youth. She always smelled like it. Irrigated corn fields always remind me of driving down a dirt road next to a center pivot near my grandparent's house. Farms are full of so many distinctive and wonderfully wierd smells!

  2. I'm going to say it: Twighlight? really? Come on!

    Burning leaves will always remind me of little Baldwin City. Every fall my dad would burn our leaves in the backyard and I LOVE fall in a small town.

  3. I didn't know it was called a smell bank. I think it is awesome that you associate your family with so many smells. For me it's silage and my dad.