Personal Ramblings, Places

memories of smells

There are some smells from childhood that stick with you, smells with which you quickly associate a memory of a  person, place or thing. Here are some on mine from growing up in India.

1. fried fish = missing grandma

2. sticky, sweet honey = grandpa slaughtering a giant jack fruit with his machete

3. ginger and lemon = icky sore throats

4. disinfectant = mom scrubbing me clean (on the front porch)

5. coffee = quality time with dad = finding errors in the newspaper

6. rotten mangos and sweat = hugs from a specific uncle

7. asafoetida = people sans deodorant

8. rancid oil – yummy roadside treats

9. sour milk = poor rural clinics

10. Baked potato = a cobra is slithering somewhere close by

Personal Ramblings, Reading Life Between the Lines

10 things I loved when I was 10 I’ll enjoy even at 100

1. Anything mango

2. Anything chocolate

3. Furry little non-shedding things that go “woof” (and not meow)

4. A good laugh

5. Colored pencils and a coloring book

6. Sassy, snarky comments

7. Clean, crisp white sheets

8. Balloons

9. Train rides

10. The Reader’s Digest

Personal Ramblings, Reading Life Between the Lines

a zum zum attitude

Sky, about 9, playing mahout

Twenty assorted sizes of tape securely hold down on my desk a very old and wrinkled piece of paper that measures 4 x 3 inches. It is a special piece of paper. From margin to margin, in elementary scribble, is a message: “Hardy-Hee-Hah! La-Lop Lee! Ubee-Ubee-oop-Oop! Koo-Koo! Yipa-Zipa Lipa-Hipa! Ookee-Ookee! Eek-Eek-Eek!  Bo-ba-bee-bap! Oopa-Loopa! Zum-Zum!” Sky was nine when she taped that piece of paper to my desk

“What does it mean?” I asked Sky as she taped it with furious determination and without asking for permission.

She looked at me, rolled her eyes in exasperation and responded with a question of her own: “Does everything have to mean something?”

Being a very mature adult, I was taken aback by this philosophical response from my child. My logical mind silently responded, Of course everything has to mean something. I’m wasting my time if it doesn’t mean anything. Aloud, though, the mother in me said, “So tell me, Sweetie. What is this note all about? Explain it, so I can understand.”

Another roll of the eyes and a sigh preceded her directions: “Read it aloud, Mom, and tell me how it makes you feel.”

More psycho babble from a child, I mumbled to myself before I did as I was told. I started out aloud with the “Hardy-Hee-Hah! . . .” and barely got to the “zum-zum.”  I felt silly! I sounded foolish! I felt like an unburdened child at play. I first smiled. Then I snickered. Finally I was laughing so hard!

“This is my gift to you, Mom,” Sky said matter-of-factly. “Every time you need to stop and smile, read this note.” With those instructions, she left my office—back into her childhood where the problems are simple and the solutions even more so.

Alone again in my adult world, I learned an invaluable lesson that day: Being grown up doesn’t have to be humdrum. You’ve got to find your “Hardy-Hee-Hah!” and have a zum-zum blast of a day.