The Scent of Memories

The sweet green scent of string beans! These are the few gathered from my balcony garden, and as I prepared them, that clean smell rose up, taking me back to sitting on my grandma Bunch’s porch snapping beans as a kid.

“You better make sure you get all the strings out or you’ll have to eat’em!” she’d say, after showing how to snap the stem just right, to pull the string off the length of the bean.

Summer’s at one of my two surviving, actually great grandmothers homes, as my mother’s parents were both gone. This one, Bunch, never liked me much. I was a notoriously independent child, and I liked to be contrary especially for her. (“In childhood’s hour…”)

If she said, “Don’t eat the grapes til they were ripe!” I did it anyway (and regretted it!). If she said, “Stay on the farm, don’t wander off!” Instead of staying on the little farm where she raised all kinds of vegetables, grapes, apples and rabbits, I spent hours wandering through the lower hills and valleys of southeast #Tennessee poking about. Avoiding black bears and snakes, eating berries off vine if I got hungry. Taking naps in the heat of the day under cool brush when it got hot. Hurrying back at dusk before the wolves came out, for my daily scolding.

Very different upbringing than most kids I knew back then and now. Very very much shaped my character, and makes it hard to live in a city any length of time. It’s like a dream I’d forgotten, but the scent of green beans took me back.

Another memory of my other grandma was published a few years ago. Another memory based on food preparation and scents, on pears 🍐. At American Athenaeum, “Big Mama’s Pears”. #flashmemoir #autobiography #food #memories #memorial 1st on Instagram.

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