Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Smell of Life

I always remember my mother telling me about how the smell of blackberries reminded her of her childhood growing up in Mahony City, Pennsylvania. Picking blackberries with her sister Beatrice in the fields high above the coalmines where her father worked. Then waiting for him at the end of the day with a bucket of berries for him to eat, after hours deep inside dusty, dirty caverns of darkness, his reward awaited him.

With a big smile on his face he would always kiss them both too, leaving a “black” lipstick mark on each one of their faces that they never wanted to wash off.

Oh, yes mom, the smell of blackberries, I know it well also.

You see for me the smell of blackberries brings me back to my childhood as well. Picking buckets of blackberries with my grandfather Paco and my grandmother Isabel when I was seven or eight years old. Probably in the same August sun as my mom, except we were a few hundred miles away from the coalmines of Pennsylvania in the Catskill Mountains.

Oh, yes smells, they are fascinating aren’t they?

Now for a lot of my hockey buddies from Avenue F, the smell of horseradish will always bring back memories of skating and shooting a roll of electrical tape when we were teenagers. Hours and hours of sweating, laughing, and making friendships that would last a lifetime. All with the pungent smell of horseradish snaking it's way up your nasal passages and down your throat.

You see the rink down at Avenue F was right behind the old “Golds” horseradish factory, and especially during the week after school the smell was at it’s strongest. Sometimes just going right through your nose and directly into your brain. Kind of like when you put too much spice on something and your head starts trembling.

Oh, yes the smell of horseradish, we all know it well.
And maybe when we get together in October for some
old timers games, I may just put an open bottle of it in
my hockey pants for old times sake.

Ron Lopez


Pete said...

In addition to the horseradish smell I distinctly remember the wafting odor of borscht on cold mornings at the rink....the steam from the cooking vats spewed out onto the court and left a damp area near the goal...strange how smell bring back such strong memories...and these smells were a hell of a lot more pleasant than the sewage treatment plant stench down at Kings Bay rink when I played there in the late 70's...


Anonymous said...

Late 70s stench? It was still there yesterday when I drove past!!