The smells of my happy childhood
Today as I walked out of my mom and dad's house, I was hit by a wave of olfactory nostalgia. In my small East Texas hometown (where I have passed most of my visit) we have a mile-long stretch of refineries affectionately called "Chemical Row." This large landscape of steel and smokestacks is just about a mile south of my parents' house. Normally, one must be much closer to pick up the chemically delicious odor, but today, the wind was blowing in from the south. That wind carried with it memories of many barbecues as a child spent down at the Dupont Employees Recreation Association. Here you could find the makings of any great family cookout. There were barbecue pits, a playground, a swimming pool, and a softball field all flanked on one side by the swamp (known to us as Cow Bayou) and on the other side by DuPont, Chevron, Texaco, etc. We didn't mind the smell because to us it meant that we were with family and friends spinning on the merry-go-round, eatin' hot links, watching dads play softball, or just sitting on the dock with our feet dangling in that brown bayou water. Those were happy days, though! You see, we didn't know that there were clean, clear, unpolluted streams running through a protected national park somewhere, or that our own environment was hopelessly flawed. There would be time for knowing later. On those hot summer days as we laughed and ran around sucking in lungs-full of that air, we wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.