I had a grapefruit for breakfast this morning. In the grand scheme of things, that's not very exciting, I know. But when you consider all that the smell of grapefruit conjures up for me, it becomes more interesting.
Back home in Ohio, the local FFA (Future Farmers of America) held a citrus sale every fall. A week or two before the Christmas holiday, the gradefruit and oranges would come in. We would always get a box of each and for a few weeks, have lots of oranges and grapefruit in the house. Each morning we'd have a 1/2 a grapefruit, sprinkled with sugar, for breakfast with our cereal. Mom would use the oranges to make cookies.
When I cut into the grapefruit this morning, as juice squirted out all over the knife, I was instantly transported back to the kitchen in that little farmhouse. The linoleum on the floor was cracked and peeling back under the sink and by the stove and the oven. The shelf under the window was piled high with dishes and the silverware tray. Stacked in front of the shelf was all sorts of boxes full of dishes or Tupperware, along with a large bin of flour and another one full of sugar. The dishes were stacked in the old white cabinets on the fourth wall, right where the back door opened up. The bowls were old melamime, and olive green, and just a hair bigger than the grapefruit. If those weren't available, there were the standby Tupperware pastel cereal bowls.
The smell brings back more than the kitchen, with the cold of the floor seeping through our socks and the cold air flowing in around the back door and the poorly sealed windows. It brings back the feel of waking up in a cold house, because the fire in the wood burning furnace had gone down. It brings back the sound of mom (or dad) down in the basement, stoking the fire and putting in more wood, and the creak of the stairs as they would climb back up. We'd sit in our room, shivering under the covers and burrow down for one last snooze. It brings back the holidays, the smell of the Christmas tree in the corner of the living room, and the excitement of waiting to see what Santa would bring. It brings back the dining room table, and crawling around behind mom's sewing machine and various projects to get to "my" seat, or around dad's pile of magazines on the other side. Sitting next to Candy, with Trix across the table next to Mom (when we would all be eating breakfast together.)
It's funny how a scent will sometimes remind you of someone or a time and place. I can't seem to smell a grapefruit without instantly being back in that kitchen, shivering while I cut one for breakfast, sprinkle it with sugar and carry it into the dining room to sit down and eat, looking outside at the snow all over the ground, and waiting for the house to warm up. I'm instantly back to the excitement of the season, waiting to see what Santa will bring and the fun of decorating the house for the holidays.
Of course, this morning, I was sitting down next to a very curious 3 year old, who was asking "why" at every turn, or "what," and I explained in every possible detail, my grapefruit to her, and why I was eating it, and why I was squeezing the juice out of it and why I was drinking the juice and why it was pink and why.... and why... and why. :)