Sunday, August 31, 2008

i smell her everywhere

Today is one of those perfect Vermont summer days. It's sunny and warm. A high breeze rustles through the tippy tops of the trees. A crowd of white sailboats crowds the lake like little happy triangles atop a deep blue canvas. And everyone is outside enjoying it. The new college students and their out-of-town parents. The French-speaking Canadians. The hippy locals. The skateboarders. The bikers. The yard-salers. Everyone's getting in their last hurrah.

Don't curse me for saying this: the summer is at an end. It's that slight shift in the atmosphere. You can feel it. The air's a little thinnner, the sun a little lower on the horizon. And then nostalgia sets in.

This kind of weather makes me want to eat a tuna melt on rye. So I made one for lunch today. I ate it outside in the sun. I closed my eyes, listened to the breeze, felt it soften my skin and I remembered, years back. We were picnicing on Emerald Lake in East Dorset. Mama Sonia used to put together the best picnics (Aunt Lucy can attest to that.) There was yummy ham and turkey from Harringtons. Delicious cheeses and specialty mustards. Salty Cape Cod potato chips. And rye bread. I only ate rye bread at Mama Sonia's and Papa Roger's. So, inevitably, to this day when I eat it, I think of them. I think of the picnics on Emerald Lake. The paddle boats. Walks in the forest. Sleepy, tired children.

I smelled the rye bread on my tuna melt. It smelled so yummy and bready. So picnicy. So Mama Sonia.

Later, I walked by a kitchen shop downtown. It smelled like her pantry. There was always a wealth of different crackers and dips for summer parties at their home in Peru, Vermont. Sticky homemade jams for our morning toast. The specialty mustards I grew to love so much on my sandwiches (even as a child). And loaves of rye bread. For the picnic sandwiches.

Just now, I stopped by Emma and Kevin's house to do a couple things while they're away. They've just redone their floors--a beautiful hardwood throughout. It smells like sweet, fresh-cut pine. As I let myself in and placed my bare feet on the cool slate entryway. I suddenly felt as though it was 20 years ago and I was walking into Mama Sonia's and Papa Roger's entryway in Peru. The cool slate entryway. The smells of wooden cutting boards and salad bowls and summer decks overlooking the pond. The smell was exactly the same. I wonder if Emi smells that too when she comes home at night?

I'm a little sad today, even though it's the most beautiful day we've had all summer. But I'm happy too, because these smells and these memories I'll have forever.


Emma said...

Just one of the many things I have inherited from Papa Roger: my love for a ham sandwich with Swiss cheese and mustard on toasted rye.

Sallybagz said...

I loved the audacity of his ice cream sundaes/banana splits! He was one of the few who could get away with was his quiet intention, his `I can do what I like in my own home' attitude, his total satisfaction and relish of the whole affair that stays with me. Pair that up with an old 1Murder She Wrote' and you have achieved paradise on earth. Oh Lord, I hope your freezer's full of ice cream, and your trees full of bananas. Amen.

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