“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.“

Today will be hot and sunny. Already it is in the high 70’s, but I’m comfortable here in the cool, dark den. My plans for the day are simple: do nothing. Yesterday got away from me as I had a couple of appointments: my teeth are clean and my license has been renewed. I’m good to go.

I started hating the dentist when I was in the 7th grade. That was when my father decided the dentist in town, with his gas and painless dentistry, was too expensive; instead, he drove to me East Boston on Saturdays to take me to his childhood dentist. I swear that dentist used pedal drills. He didn’t use novocaine. I was in pain. I gripped the chair arms with such force I left finger indentations. Much later, when I saw the Little Shop of Horrors, I recognized the sadistic dentist. He was the very same one from my childhood.

I had to have perfect teeth before I left for Ghana. The dentist I found was near school in Lawrence. I was braced for torture. It didn’t happen. It was painless. I didn’t grip the arms even once. My father didn’t balk. He paid the bill. I stopped hating dentists.

I have a list of favorite smells. The Christmas tree probably tops the list. Its aroma fills the house the whole season. I have pine incense I burn to bring back the tree. Wood charcoal burning is another. That brings me back to Ghana, especially back to the mornings. The compounds around my house cooked every morning on small charcoal burners. I could see the white smoke rising above the compounds, and I could smell the sweet wood burning. I have wood charcoal I burn in my chiminea. If I close my eyes, I’d swear I was in Ghana. Bread baking is another of my favorites. I salivate at the thought of butter melting on hot bread. I remember ditto machines. I’d pass out the papers to my students, and the first thing they’d do was smell the paper. The sweet, pungent smell before a rain storm is another. I know it is ozone, but I prefer a more earthy description. After a rainstorm, the smell of the grass and flowers fills my senses.

I think summer has the most aromas with the whiffs of newly cut grass, the hints before rain storms and the sweet redolence of everything in bloom, but I love the scents of winter wafting through the cold air and sweetening the starkest of all the seasons.

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6 Comments on ““Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.“”

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Another day like yesterday but with a high predicted to hit 107°. It’s getting very old.

    I’m just getting ready to get into my warm swimming pool. The temperature resembles the temperature of a cool hot tub. 🙂

    I have either put several dentist’s kids through college or I paid for their boats over the years. I’ve reached the final stage of modern dentistry, implants. There’s only one higher level which involves removing anll your teeth and installing implantable dentures. I’m not there yet. 🙂

    When I was a kid, the dentist would bring out the syringe with novocaine and I would scream, “No Needles”. Instead I endured minor pain of the drill because I was a stupid kid. One dentist, when I was a teenager, applied a topical anesthetic to my gums before the shot and everything was better.

    My favorite dentist died between the time he prepared my tooth for a crown and when the crown arrived. He had a side business buying and selling airplanes. Unfortunately, he and his wife were killed in a Learjet he sold to a Brazilian company. They were flying the airplane to Brazil when they crashed in St. Thomas. The Brazilian captain survived. My dentist, the copilot, swam back to save his wife and he also drowned.

    The aroma of the chemical in the old duplicating machines was every kid’s favorite smell. Now we have xerox copying machines and my kids have never enjoyed that weird aroma. My favorite aroma is a fresh baked apple or cherry pie. One realtor told me to keep a few pies on hand when you sell a house. You throw the pie in the oven before the showing and hope to not burn down the place. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      We did reach 80°, and tomorrow will be similar except for the possibility of thunder showers. The nights do get cooler and are in the 60s.

      I am working hard to keep my teeth. I do have a few crowns, two due to a long ago fall. I had a teeth scraping done so my insurance pays for a cleaning every three months.

      My dentist, one I’d had since the early 70’s, always used a numbing anesthetic. He retired a while back and the dentist who bought the practice does the same. I will not go through the same level of pain I did when I was a kid. Numb the heck out of my mouth!

      Wow, what a tragic end to their lives.

      My friend, a real estate salesman, said the same thing only she suggested cookies. That was one intoxicating smell from the ditto machines I can still see kids passing the papers back with one hand while using the other hand to hold the paper to their noses.

      • Bob Says:

        Most mornings this past couple of weeks our low temperature in the early morning has been around 85°. Tuesday morning, if the cold front gets hear, our predicted low temperature will be back in the mid to high seventies. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        I think we have reached 85° maybe once all summer. I prefer not to live where 85° is considered the low.

        You’ll need a coat if it gets down to the 70’s!!

    • Bob Says:

      Oops, wrong here. Sorry. 🙂

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