Hello all. You know, it never fails to amaze me how some things affect my mind and emotions. I’ve read somewhere, and I’ve found it to be true, that our sense of smell is actually one of the strongest at associating memories. Years ago when I worked at a fast food restaurant, I was working in the drive-through window one afternoon, and a car pulled up, the driver rolled the window down, and the scent from inside the car hit me. Now I couldn’t have described the smell, I couldn’t have identified at all what the exact components of the scent were, but it was exactly, and I mean EXACTLY, like my grandmother’s car used to smell, and she had been killed in a car wreck years before that. That smell hit me and I instantly burst into tears. Hadn’t been feeling emotional before that, hadn’t been thinking about her at that moment or missing her or anything, but I instantaneously reacted to a scent.
Fast forward to the other night when I got home from work. I walked in the door, and the offspring were camped out in various poses all over the front room: one slouched at the computer desk, one in the rocker recliner in full-on veg out mode, and one at the dining room table with her laptop, working on homework. Nothing particularly unusual there; that’s pretty much how I always find them. But the most distinctive feature of the scene was the HORRENDOUS ODOR! It was the odor…of burned-ness. Something had clearly been burned to a crisp in that house since I’d been in it last. I sort of began to shriek. “What have you guys been doing in here!? Holy cow! It smells awful!” Well, it turns out that The Boy had tried to make a “grilled cheese” sandwich in the microwave. Y’all, he had put it in there for five minutes…! The sandwich burned so badly that it cracked the plate it was on, and almost affected the microwave turntable! I had to ask why on earth hadn’t they opened some windows, some doors, chopped a hole in the wall, ANYTHING. That’s when they informed me that they had, in fact, opened several windows and both the front and back doors, and it still smelled that bad! I re-opened the kitchen window, but it didn’t do much good. The next day, I tried to use the microwave and realized that the awful smell was going to come billowing out of there all over again every time I used it! My mother had always said that heating a cup of vinegar for a couple of minutes would help remove smells from appliances, so I tried that. It helped a little, but I am pretty sure I will still get re-bombed with that scent every time I use the microwave for at least a couple of weeks. This normally would be a minor annoyance at best, but every time I smell that odor, I get a tense, tight feeling in my stomach, my head hurts, and I want to cry a little. And THAT would be because the smell is so similar to when our house burned a few years ago. In fact, it’s ironic that this whole thing came up when it did, because writing about this reminded me that the anniversary of that lousy event is actually coming up in about a week, and that a couple of days ago was the anniversary of the tornado that struck my hometown that same year.
So anyway. That’s the leftover scars part of today’s post. A minor annoyance becomes a strong reminder of a trauma, thanks to our awesome scent-memory association! The ‘pioneer skirts’ part comes from my efforts to find something to wear to church yesterday. A few weeks ago I had worn this really long, thin, flowing skirt to church. It was a pretty windy day, and at the time, I thought it would probably be much better if I had something to wear under it. (Forgive me, Grandmothers, for I have sinned: I do not own a full-length slip.) I was already out of the house before I remembered that I had another skirt of the same length, but different material and weight, that I could have worn under it as just an extra layer, kind of serving as a slip or a liner. Which got me thinking about things like Little House on the Prairie, and petticoats, and how every once in a while, I just get in this weird mood where I want to start dressing like Ma Ingalls. (Yeah, like the title of my last post, I’m just that weird.) So yesterday, I did exactly that. I wore one skirt under the other to the morning service, and I switched them for evening services! It felt much better than wearing one alone, more weight and coverage, you might say. Felt less likely to catch a stiff breeze and flash the world. Don’t worry, I didn’t have a frilly high-neck blouse on top; I haven’t gotten that weird yet- I just wore a sweater that matched the colors. I did, however, enjoy a brief period of twirling girly-ness in the middle of the dining room, spinning around and watching my skirts swirl.
Does anyone else think the world today might be a slightly better place if all women could still feel beautiful and girly by watching their long skirts swirl, instead of having to squeeze into a pitiful excuse for a dress that barely covers their chest and butt and then ruining their feet, ankles, knees, and backs with sky-high heels, and then wonder why men don’t respect them? Just me? Ok, then.
Until next time,