04 January 2011

Recollection of odors

What a blissful day.  By 11:00AM I was being transported back to a red brick bungalow on Prince Street in Georgetown SC -- up the steps, through the screened door with the geese silhouette on the lower half, into the darkened interior smelling of my grandfather's cigarette smoke, treading on the deep burgundy carpet in the living room and the hall-like dining room, into the kitchen, a small, bright, amazing space.

One of my favorite LeGrand relatives (she's married to Tal's brother) is facing a daunting physical challenge.  To offer a little ease into the daily life of that unsettled and somewhat fearful household, I offered to provide dinner for tonight. What to have?  What is the most comforting food I know (not to mention easy to transport from Edgefield to Aiken and able to stand up to reheating)?

Granny Tarbox's meatloaf!  No doubt about it.  Bite-size shredded wheat, chicken broth, eggs, catsup, salt and pepper, hot sausage, lean ground beef.  At the mixing stage it's a bit messy, "gooshy" even.  But, while it bakes ... oh, the most wonderful smell, a transporting odor.  I was in that house, at my grandparents' table, with family all around.

I hope Betty improves rapidly during this first month of a new year.   Maybe Granny's meatloaf will be as powerful an agent of healing for her as it is an agent of memory for me.

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