I guess I should clarify that it wasn’t a religious epiphany or anything like that but came about when someone in my apartment building was baking a desert which reminded me of an aroma that wafted through the old farm-house back on Old Landing Road during the summer and fall of the 1930’s.
I’m referring to a concoction that my mother would bake for us on a regular basis when the wild blackberries were in full season. It was called Blackberry Roly Poly. She would whip up the recipe, bake it in the oven and then, while it was still warm, would cut my brother and I a big chunk and top it with cool cream that was skimmed from the morning’s cows milk and stored in the spring house. That was our supper and we loved it. The pleasure of that meal lasted till bedtime. Mmmmmm…
(Check out next week’s Tasty Tuesday post for Don’s mother’s Blackberry Roly Poly recipe!)
As this memory began to dwindle, my mind flooded with thoughts of all the other aromas that filled the kitchen, the fields, the woods and the barn…the smell of my mother baking bread, almost daily, and apples cooking for apple sauce and apple butter which would be preserved for the winter. My mother spent a lot of time and worked very hard in that kitchen. Those aromas always trigger happy, warm memories of her.
Directly behind the old house, towards the woods, was a fifty foot long, tunnel-like, purple grape arbor that, as I brushed by, reminded me of striding past a pot of grape jelly. If we were to walk about two hundred feet up over a small hill we’d be standing at the three acres my father set aside for the growing of the crops. When it was plowed every spring, a breath of that newly turned-over soil made you think of the delicious corn, tomatoes, peas, squash and other veggies that were going to come from that black, moist earth being prepared for spring planting.
At the end of a day we’d retreat to the front porch where we’d watch the sun slide behind the woods that lined the valley where the Gunpowder Falls flowed. The pleasant bouquet of honeysuckle which grew thick in the many hedgerows that crisscrossed the farms would float by on the gentle evening breeze and made us reluctant to leave the porch as darkness fell.
Of course, there were some odors that weren’t necessarily “good” such as those that originated from our two door, complete with crescent moons in the doors, outhouse or those that wafted up from the barn on days when the cows’ manure had been piled outside of the stall doors. While they weren’t pleasant odors like the others, they did conjure of memories of their own!
This brings me to my epiphany…we all have responsibility for our own outlook on life and our mental well-being. Focusing on the positive memories of our past and not the negative can sometimes get us through a trying day or even a trying hour. Let that aroma, or that pleasant thought transport you back to more memorable times. Some of us need them now more than ever.