I have spent the day hunched over my computer, excruciatingly convincing my brain to “Please, please focus.” After a number of hours (the exact amount I will not divulge), I finished my first final paper of the semester. After a minute of celebration, I went straight to the bathroom, stripped off my clothes, and landed in the shower. It felt so good.
On the rare days when I am not rushing through the act of bathing, sometimes annoyed that it takes up precious minutes, my sense of smell (I have been known to call it my best and strongest sense) really kicks in. Smells bring back so many memories for me. Tonight in the shower the sense took me back to summer days spent at Creekside. Nana
always made sure to have lots of soap– a bar of Dove or liquid Dial– in the upstairs shower for us to use when we visited. When I smell this soap even now as I shower and lather it on my body, I am taken back to those really hot summer days when we would catch frogs and chase lizards on the deck. We’d wipe the humidity from our foreheads as we dug worms to use for fishing bait, and played in the playhouse for hours on end. I remember once Granddaddy said to me, “You must be going to be an archeologist when you grow up; you love digging in the dirt.”
After we spent our mornings doing all those fun things, Nana would ring the lunch bell and we’d all go in for sandwiches with extra crisp, crunchy iceberg lettuce,
fresh tomatoes, so warm from the sun, that I (of course) can still taste in my mouth, and baked beans, or some other delicious midday summer meal. When lunch ended, we’d mosey into the sun room and maybe take a nap or play Go Fish or Mother May I with those real old playing cards that Mom and Uncle Jay used to play with. Then, we’d all gear up and head out on the red boat to ski and swim. I was almost always too scared to try skiing, despite the almost incessant urging of Aubrey and Annie; but, a few times I got up. I remember the tips from Mom and Granddaddy to “Keep your knees slightly bent and your arms strong.”
Once we were all tired out from so much dirt and water and sun, we headed back home and took showers. Sometimes Annie and I would share because the hot water had a tendency of running out fast when the five of us were visiting. But, normally it was one-by-one to the shower . . . which is where I started this memory.
The soap always smelled so good as I lathered it up around me. Those are the best showers– when the day has been so full of outside and family you could almost burst. But,
you don’t, because you know that supper is smelling up the whole downstairs as Nana
sets the table, and Grandaddy, in his bedroom shoes, philosophically lectures to Annie and Aubrey who are already “squeaky clean” (as Mom and Dad used to say), and fresh strawberries soaked up their own juice, preparing to be topped with fluffy cool whip. In those times, I didn’t even mind that I was the “rotten egg” because I got to smell the soap and soak up the day just a little longer . . .