Archive for September, 2013

Proust’s Madeleines– Arkansas Version

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the smallest thing can trigger a memory? There are certain smells or sounds that can transport me straight back to my childhood–the smell of mimosa blossoms, for instance. When I was growing up in Little Rock, our beloved family friends Jim and Randy Venable lived across the street from us. Randy was kind of our unofficial godmother, and since she and Jim weren’t able to have children of their own, they doted on the six of us. The mimosa tree was next to their driveway, and I loved the sweet, honeyed fragrance of those strange pink blossoms. When any trace of that heady scent wafts across my path, I can close my eyes and see Randy and Jim’s small, neat house, feel the pea gravel of their driveway under my bare feet, and feel the tickle of the feathery fronds of the mimosa blossom as I hold it up to my nose.

Today I used my mom’s old Wear Ever aluminum juicer to squeeze a lemon. It used to sit in the cupboard in Mom’s kitchen, right next to her slightly dented spaghetti strainer. Sometimes when I was sick, Mom would make me a small glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice, which to this day is one of my favorite things in the world. I have her original juicer now, but a few years ago when she was still using it in her own house, I found one just like it on ebay. It pleases me to have hers, and every time I use it I remember all of the times she  juiced lemons for lemon merengue pie– which I’m now totally craving. Thanks, self!

The smell of leather harkens me back to the 6th grade, and my pony Charlie Brown. He was solid black with just one small patch of white on his shoulder. He was also kind of a jerk as far as ponies go– though he wasn’t downright mean, he was certainly mischievous, which translated into him trying to rub me off on every tree on the trail ride, and feigning ignorance when I slapped his leg because he accidently-on-purpose stepped on my foot for the hundredth time when I was putting on his bridle. He would also bend his neck way around and ever so gently grab my butt cheek with his teeth when I curried him, pretending to be surprised when I jumped and then swatted him. “Oh dear,” his little pony expression read, as he batted his long pony eyelashes. “I had no idea that was your butt– my apologies.” I had a small western saddle for Charlie, partly suede and partly smooth leather. I loved it, especially the smell of it. It was heavy for a kid my size to swing up and over Charlie’s back to place it on top of the red padded saddle  blanket. It had a rich brown scent like fall leaves with a bit of a sharp acidic tone, which was probably dried pony sweat, now that I think about it. Eww. Good thing I wasn’t this analytical when I was in the 6th grade. I rarely go to tack and saddle shops these days, though I pass several of them when I drive into Shelbyville to go to Walmart. But every year when Russ and I go to Eureka Springs after Christmas, I make sure to do a leisurely walk through their handmade leather goods shop… and I inhale deeply and happily.

OK, your turn, group participation time! I’d love for you to leave a comment and tell me about a sight, sound, smell, etc. that instantly triggers a memory for you. (And if this is your first time to sign in to leave a comment, please be patient and don’t give up if it’s a little bit of a hassle… We make it an eensy bit complicated to ensure that we don’t get hacked or attract spammers; and so far so good!)


Regardless of where you stand on war, politics, or the POTUS…

SURELY we can all agree that the men and women of the armed forces deserve our support.

This song was written by a former U.S. Navy Seal named Chris Heben, and ‘Bloomr Nation’s very own GracieD:They did an amazing job!

Please give it a listen, and if it touches you, please share it with your friends. It deserves to be heard.


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