I Remember: Memories of the Senses

July 28, 2014 in Memory, Remembering, Values Storying by al.ainsworth7@gmail.com

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I Remember
Photo Credit: TheNickster via photopin/cc

I Remember: Memories of the Senses

Have you ever heard a song, and it took you back? Smelled a scent you recognized from decades ago? Or tasted a dish “just like Grandma used to make”? Amazing how even our senses seem to have memories of their own, isn’t it?

What do your senses remember?

As I gave the question some consideration, my senses remembered quite a bit. And the memories my senses conjured up for me are good ones. I had a great childhood, but I realize that not everyone did. I have known quite a few folks who wish they could erase some of the memories that their senses arouse from time to time. Whether good or bad, though, I believe our memories have great value for the next generation…if we will be careful to pass along our memories–and the values and lessons that they contain–to those following in our footsteps.

Join me in a tour of the memories of each of my senses. I would love to know what your senses remember.

I rememberSight

I remember the sight of the annual Star Volunteer Fire Department BBQ fundraiser. Back in my childhood when the event first began, the fire department barbeque took place at the old Falcon Field. There was a softball tournament that accompanied the cooking and also a lawnmower race. It was a full day of various activities.

The fire department barbeque still takes place every year, though it now takes place from the fire station and no longer includes many of its former activities. I think the reason its memory is so vivid is that the extravaganza that was the fire department barbeque is that it was the first community-wide event that I remember in Star. There are others now–an annual 5K run and a Christmas parade, for example. But I remember the barbeque at Falcon Field best.

I remember

Photo Credit: katybeck via photopin/cc


I remember the sound of screen doors slamming as kids bolted through the house, burst through the door, and ran out into the yard…and then back in again…and then back out again.  “All that in and outin’,” as my mama used to say. There was no need to stop to close the door behind you; just sling them open and they would take care of closing themselves. I hardly see screen doors like that anymore.

Screen doors with a little hook latch and coiled spring were great for keeping mosquitoes out. Not so great for reducing noise in a country home. The noise that has become so distinct in my memory.

I remember


I remember the smell of Pop and Granny’s gardenia bush in their front yard. It’s an easy smell to remember because I rooted a piece of the bush to grow in my own flower bed, over 200 miles away from the original. My dad describes it as “the smell of summer” to him. While my stargazer lilies might rival that for me now, the smell of the gardenia bush takes me back. The bush that also served as “base” for many childhood games played in Pop and Granny’s front yard got its own chapter in Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales).

We almost lost the gardenia bush this winter. I had to cut it back to almost nothing, but it has slowly rebounded over the summer. Sadly, it did not produce any flowers this summer. Hopefully, it will next year. You can bet I will recognize its aroma when it does.

I remember

Photo Credit: mattb_tv via photopin /cc


I remember the taste of homemade ice cream. Now, I’m not a proponent of the notion that everything that is homemade is, by default, better. After all, I’ve seen “The Pickle Story” episode of The Andy Griffith Show enough times to know better. (Best line: “But they ain’t good ol’ store pickles; they’re bad ol’ home pickles.”)

Homemade ice cream, though, lives up to the country principle that homemade is better. Maybe it was the fact that the old ice cream makers required several hours of cranking (or at least it seemed so to the person manning the manual crank).

I still get a taste of homemade ice cream from time to time, and it never fails to disappoint!

I rememberTouch

I remember the feel of aluminum bat meeting baseball. For the better part of my first couple of years as a baseball player, I was the guy at the plate when someone on the opponent’s side would yell something like, “Just throw strikes, Ricky! He’s looking for a walk!”

But then on that magical night on the little league field in Florence, I swung the red aluminum bat that was missing as much paint as it had retained through its excessive usage. I actually made contact with the ball. Solid contact. It was a hard ground ball directly to the first baseman, and I was out before I was a third of the way to first base. But something inside me had clicked, and I understood that swinging the bat was a prerequisite for hitting the ball.

I already knew that, of course, but I still remember what the practical outworking of that principle actually felt like.

Join the Conversation

You don’t have to write an entire blog post to share the memories of your senses. Just write a comment below, starting with “I remember,” followed by what one of your senses remembers.

Thanks for reading,

For the next generation,
Al Ainsworth

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