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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Life by the nose

  • Barreling down Interstate 40 one day, I got stuck for a good while behind a horse trailer. It smelled like manure and immediately reminded me of the Oklahoma City Zoo.
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  • Barreling down Interstate 40 one day, I got stuck for a good while behind a horse trailer. It smelled like manure and immediately reminded me of the Oklahoma City Zoo.
    When I make the comparison, I’m not trying to insult the Oklahoma City Zoo, or any zoo for that matter. It’s just that the smell of manure from a large mammal on a hay-based diet will forever remind me of that particular location.
    Isn’t it amazing how certain smells act as such strong reminders of our past? What about you? Does a certain fragrance remind you of an ex-lover? Does freshly fried batter make you think of that time you skinned your knee at the state fair? When you twist open a bottle of Coke, do you think about that uncle you have or that friend from your childhood who drank entirely too much soda?
    There are several such examples from my own life. The smell of cookies, especially newly baked ones, always reminds me of my mom. Most people love their moms, but does anyone love their mom more than right after she’s pulled a hot tray of chocolate chip cookies from of the oven?
    Baked sweets are to my mother as canned tuna is to my father. Specifically, I should say, my father during Lent. Actually, I think the smells I associate with my dad are seasonal. Clipped grass in the summer, Old Spice Classic after shave in the colder months.
    Boy, my dad’s going to love reading this one!
    Certain smells can be rabbit holes of emotion, too. For example, certain types of cleaner or bleach remind me of the time I’ve spent inside different nursing homes over the years as both a visitor and a volunteer.
    Nursing homes remind me of going to the doctor, because of the sterile environment and the many white coats running around. Doctors scared me when I was a kid. They were too nice. And tried to give me stickers. I hate stickers.
    Therefore, cleaner leaves me emotionally vulnerable.
    That’s what I always told my mom on chores day anyway. I’d rather she just made cookies.

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