Sunday, October 12, 2008

Smells Like Home

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."

- Scout Finch

"To Kill A Mockingbird" is my absolute favorite book of all time. I can't begin to count how many times I have read it. The movie ranks pretty high on my list too. The quote above is from Scout after she started school and her teacher was dismayed to learn that she could already read. The teacher, Miss Caroline, told Scout to tell her father to quit teaching her at home because he wasn't doing it right.

My trip home to Smalltown, Georgia last weekend brought this quote to mind. There are sights, smells, feelings there that I didn't notice at all when I lived there. Now that I've been away, I've realized these are things I miss.

Don't get me wrong, there are things I knew I would miss like family, my friends, my Mama's cooking. But there are other things that I completely took for granted until they weren't a part of my day to day life anymore.

Things move more slowly there. And I don't mean that in a backwoods, uneducated redneck sort of way. I mean in a laid back, relaxed, stress free way. I miss that when I'm having a busy week like the one that just ended. When I'm rushing from one commitment to another, sometimes driving on a five lane highway, in the far left lane and needing to merge to the far right lane in a matter of seconds.

There aren't many things prettier than a field of cotton ready to be picked. It's the closest thing to snow we ever see in the south. You don't get to see that in big cities. Tied with the white of the cotton fields are the yards filled with azaleas in the spring. Yes, the colors only last about a week, but they are vibrant enough to be remembered all year.

The air smells different there. The exact smell depends on the season. In the spring when I get out of my car at my parents' house, I'm greeted by the sweet smell of wisteria and honeysuckle. Right now, in the fall, the air smells of peanut dust. I can't really describe peanut dust to someone who has never smelled it, but it is heavenly.

I spent most of my visit last weekend sniffing the air. On our last day, I still hadn't smelled any peanut dust because most of the fields around my parents' house were either planted with cotton or were peanuts that weren't quite ready to be picked yet.

Then I got in my Daddy's truck. The smell of my childhood hit me like a brick wall. Peanut dust and diesel. I was home.

Daddy drove us around for over an hour so my girls could pick some cotton to bring home with them. Kids here don't get to see cotton before it becomes a t-shirt. We drove some more after we found cotton, and he let them pull up some peanuts. I knew if we didn't get back soon, get the Little Man from his Grandma, and get on the road, we would be very late getting back home, but I didn't care. Grandaddy loves to drive the grandchildren around, and I wouldn't deny him, or them, that for anything in the world.

The day after we got home, the girls pulled the peanuts off the vine, and I boiled them. When they walked in from outside, Princess E said, "It smells like Grandma's house in here."

A girl after my own heart!


Pajama Mama said...

DaddyTutu needs to move you home.

Beautifully expressed. You need to submit it to the Smalltown Enterprise.

Anonymous said...

Don't know you, but I'm PJMom's biggest bro.
Thanks for taking me home again.

Tony C said...

Very nice. I love your writing style. Being from a small town, I know...well...I just know.

Thanks for the post.

Shawna said...

That was very relaxing to read. I must say I agree with much of the things you wrote about, however, I do not understand the love of boiled peanuts. I had never heard of such a thing until moving to Mississippi (from Texas). We like 'em crunchy over there. ;)