Note to Reader: I don’t know if she’ll even remember it, but when my baby sister was pretty young, maybe three or four years old. She used to call the matching pictures game “Remembery”. It was one of her all time favorite games, and even now to be silly, I sometimes refer to my memories as “rememeberies”.
Additional Note to reader: This may get a little sentimental, in fact I’m getting a little misty as I sit here and type. I smelled a smell this week - the kind of smell that reached deep into the archives of my mind, into files I’d thought were long forgotten, or ones I’d never even known were there in the first place.
I’m sure on a lark; for my birthday, my older sister gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. A jar of home made spiced tea. She’d said that she’d searched the Internet of all places and taken bits and pieces of recipes and had finally, after trial and error been able to recreate the spiced tea that we grew up on. The anticipation was too great and before I knew it, I was unscrewing this Mason jar lid and breathing in it’s incredible aroma.
Without even knowing it, she took me back to our childhood. Right there in the passenger seat of her SUV, a flood of memories poured in from all corners of my mind. Cold winter nights where the two of us were allowed to sleep on the living room floor next to the wood burning stove because it was the warmest spot in our drafty little house. Coming in from playing in the slushy snow and being soaked to the bone but warm from laughter. I can say, without a doubt that I’ve never so strongly been able to link memories to scent. The power it has had to take me back to a place in time has been beyond amazing.
So each morning since the day we met to partake in an early birthday lunch, I’ve taken a bit of time to have a cup of what I am so fondly calling “Remembery Tea”.
This morning, as the sweet and spice rose to my nose as I nestled into what we lovingly refer to as the “Man Chair”, I walked through my memories into 1987 and our carpeted dining room in bare feet to see two red headed little girls sitting at the dinner table. For no reason at all, they were exploding with laughter every time one looked at the other, laughing so hard that their bellies ached. It was visibly driving their parents up the walls. There’s a baby girl of about two in a high chair. She’s too little to understand the laughter but she’s just old enough to catch it, and she too erupts into laughter.
The mother, pregnant with the forth, is furious that things have gotten beyond her control. She screams at the father and sends the giggling girls to their room. I can still remember the feel of the floor as it changed from carpet to hard wood as I followed the memory into the bedroom that my older sister and I shared for so many years. If I close my eyes tight I can see us, on the top bunk buried under our matching strawberry shortcake bed spreads, still in fits of silent laughter.
Dinner is over for everyone now and there arguing still fills the air, and even now as I sit in my living room, in my home, breathing in the fragrance of this tea, this “Remembery Tea”, willing myself to continue remembering, my eyes prickle with tears for those three little girls. This was a crazy volatile time for our little family. A time where the memories were not always good. I have memories of praying that our parents would divorce to stop the fighting, and then when they finally did, I can remember praying that it hadn’t been my fault.
But looking back, and knowing that hind sight always seams 20/20, I know, as certain as I am sitting here in my husband’s old ratty, and oh so comfortable chair, that those girls… all three of them were and still are so deeply bound together by that laughter and understand it's healing power. And what I realize as I place my favorite mug into the dishwasher and glance over at that small, unassuming jar of what was meant to be just spice tea, is that we knew it then, and I still know it now, and it’s something that that angry mother didn't, still doesn't, and probably never will understand.
I can’t resist spinning the top off to smell of it one more time, knowing full well that they’re not all going to be good memories, and I’m okay with that.
Till next time,