Rememberance Of Oatmeal Past

This morning's oatmeal (J.F. McCullers).

Smell is so deeply rooted in memory.

It was still overcast when I got up this morning, and I made myself some oatmeal. I adore oatmeal, especially if I accidentally spill a little maple syrup in it.

I was reminded of getting ready for school when I was little, when my brother and I got up before dawn in our old house on Corkscrew Road. There was a happy commotion on those mornings with lunchboxes being packed, school clothes being sorted, and animals being tended. 

The smell of oatmeal filling the dark corners of the house on cold days, or eggs and bacon most days, and always the sharp flinty smell of coffee on the stove. The clatter of plates, the dry thump of kitchen cabinet doors. Walking through the dewy grass to let the chickens out, with the red hen always coming first, always. My mother laughing at my father's jokes. The rustle of the newspaper. The tippy-taps of the dogs on the floorboards. 

Something about the smell of oatmeal and coffee on a dark morning seems warm and snug, as if I still have Mom and Dad making the big decisions and keeping my life together, as if I'm still going to get on a big yellow bus and maybe work up the courage to say hello to the pretty girl who lives at Ten Mile Canal, as if I will still be driven all the way to Villas Elementary School in Fort Myers where Geneva Bailey and Stephanie Webb will teach me something mind-blowing about fractions or spaceships or dipthongs. 

All that is still with me, still lingering in the cool of the morning.