For some reason summer reading is much more memorable than winter. August 1969 driving through Cape Cod, the radio announcer talking about a music festival in White Lake, New York; and with each passing day his voice got more incredulous about something called Woodstock. That was the month of my angry reading – books on LSD, women’s rights, Vietnam and for good measure The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda.
(My second big musical miss was to come in January 14, 1973 when Elvis Presley did his Aloha from Hawaii concert while we were so close on the island of Maui.)
We usually vacationed in New England during my teen years. There was the July in Ogunquit, Maine; I read everything my father passed onto me, anxious to connect with him yet never wanting him to know how much. I plowed through his Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451,the Dune chronicles and did you know that before The Exorcist William Peter Blatty, wrote a book entitled Which Way to Mecca, Jack?
The summer of 1967 started off well enough with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca but quickly headed down a slippery slope as I read every convenience store gothic novel I could get my hands on. I also got into a couple of Ian Fleming’s books but I can honestly say I prefer seeing James Bond especially in the form of Daniel, Pierce and even Sean to reading about him.
Slowly though my literary tastes were changing not by J.D Salinger or Joseph Heller but by the story tellers like Leon Uris, Harper Lee and Irving Stone’s The Agony & the Ecstasy.
Beneath my obligatory façade of disillusioned teenager I was actually enjoying those summers. Lazy days of ice cream parlors, lobster buns, The Doors playing on the radio, curious little antique stores and my mother asking “Why don’t you go in the water” and me replying “When I’ve finished this chapter”.
While showering with a favorite French lavender soap the smell of Chris toasting something for his breakfast wafts into the bathroom. There was a comfort in that moment. The mingling of those scents represent the rhythm of a morning that started with the aroma of fresh ground coffee beans.
Baby’s heads, apple sauce, wet happy dogs, pepperoni pizza in boxes and buttery movie nights. Countless vases of flowers; their perfume testimony to celebrations, apologies and loss. It is our homes that are marked by the scents of life; the sweat from hard work, our sexuality, and the disquieting odors of illness. What permeates each room is also a refection of our personal choices; perfume, candles, cleaning products, a window open to a rainy night.
It is not just the making of a cup of Earl Grey that is relaxing as much as the blend of black tea and bergamot oil entering the nostrils. Leather purses, dark chocolate, old books, hyacinths, puppy breath, so many fragrances attached to memories and indulgences. The man in the elevator who was wearing the after shave of an ex-lover.
Guests arrive for dinner to the delicious smells of roasting chicken mingled with the tang of lemon and garlic, if their senses are really keen they will pick up the earthiness of new potatoes gently boiling and a comfortable apple pie warming in the oven. Yet to be opened a crisp herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc and the evening will end as the day started with cups of smoky rich coffee.
A rescued dog with a lot of love in him and for quite awhile some serious issues; he was loving referred to as the neurotic chocolate lab. His final post is dedicated to ………….
What Duke Learnt – In His Own Words
Eating a stick of butter off the kitchen counter makes your tummy ache
When you’re scared good mummies take your head in their hands and tell you how handsome and smart you are
My first Australian Shepherd sister Jenna took care of me & taught me important dog stuff
Australian Shepherds are bossy and tell you that all the toys are theirs
I got so sad when Jenna went away but then funny Mia came to live with us
Wow, mom can get peanut butter to come out of these black rubber things and my dog chow to fall out of orange balls
I don’t have to be afraid of TVs, candles, fireworks, foil, ball caps or thunder
It’s kinda cool to have a cat friend who sleeps with you
If I smile at dad when he comes home from work it makes him laugh
The best thing about winter is my favourite blanket warm from the dryer
For some reason it’s not ’helpful’ when I lick the dishes in the dishwasher
Mom makes a really funny noise when I wipe my cookie crumb mouth on her black pants
When you get old your head and body don’t feel good
On Friday daddy was sad, Dr Jodi is talking softly; mummy took my head in her hands and whispered “You are handsome and smart and you’re going to see Jenna”
What I learnt is I am loved …………
Thank you to Ringneck Kennels for taking in a once troubled young chocolate Labrador Retriever and then entrusting him to our care.
For looking after Duke not only physically but mentally we are so grateful to Dr. Jodi Silvernagle and all the staff at the Animal Care Centre of Strathmore.