From what I can remember: 1-the smell of cinnamon

I’ve had several people tell me that I should write a book. Whenever someone tells me that, I find myself thankful and humble that anyone would even think that I was capable of such. Usually, these kinds of comments come from someone who has been reading my blogs, friends and relatives mostly. I must make a confession, I really don’t think I have the discipline to sit for hours on end, concentrating on the details necessary to compile a tome of four hundred pages or more. I suffer from OAADD (Old Age Attention Deficit Disorder). It may not be an officially diagnosed condition, but it’s real for me.

Instead of writing a book, I’ve decided to try my hand at remembering and blogging some events that occurred during my seventy years of living on this little blue rock. I’m not sure where this is going, what I will talk about, or how long it will last. I’ve made no attempts to speak with any of the old folks in my family, who were around at the time of any of these events. Most of the generation before me is gone, so I suppose I would be considered old folks now.  It’s just my memory and me, giving it our best. Given the fact that I have one of the worst memories on the planet, here goes:

It’s some time before I was old enough to attend elementary school, and I smell the distinct scent of cinnamon. This scent always paints an olfactory image whenever I think of this time.  I find myself back somewhere in my fraternal grandmother’s kitchen. The scent is strong as if I’m there right now whiffing every savory scent. I can’t remember anything else about Grandma Katherine’s kitchen except the smell of cinnamon. Was she a good cook? I have no idea. I also remember the old photos of people she had hanging on the walls; you know the kind that had those haunting eyes that followed you wherever you went in the room. There was also a grandfather clock that chimed on the hour. Her house was dark and from what I can remember everything was faded shades of brown, gray and burgundy. Wait, it’s coming back to me, there was a red-checkered tablecloth in the kitchen.

We lived on a gravel road about a quarter mile north of State Highway 64 in Cross County. The county seat was and still is Wynne, Arkansas. I don’t remember a lot about that time, except what my mother told me years after, during my early childhood. Grandma Katherine and her husband Ulysses, my grandpa, lived walking distance from us, across a field and just off the highway. I do remember walking that distance, which didn’t seem that far away. Of course, I was but a toddler then, so did I walk or was I carried? Grandpa Ulysses and Grandma Katherine were well into their seventies when I was born.

I’ve been told by many folks that you must talk to your older relatives about your family before they die. Being born into a family where oral history was the primary method of passing details down from one generation to the next, I realize the truth in that now, especially when the smell of cinnamon is the only thing I can remember about my fraternal grandparents. They must have had some powerful stories to tell. These folks were born within twenty years of the end of slavery.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

5 thoughts on “From what I can remember: 1-the smell of cinnamon

  1. lewbornmann August 11, 2020 / 11:55 pm

    Having written several books, I can well understand your reticence about doing so. I even decided a number of years ago to never write another one. Several publishers requested that I publish my PhD dissertation but following the work that went into it, I was burned out and unable to even consider it at the time.

    Several years ago, about the same time I began writing my weekly postings, I did write/publish another book. The experience was not overly objectionable and I have since continued to write.

    A good friend mentioned he would really like to write a book but did not know about what to write. I suggested a subject on which he was the expert — himself. He assured me that no one would be interested. Obviously untrue as he had a relatively large family.

    Having recommended that to him, I decided to take my own advice. It actually was less difficult than I had assumed. While it has been essentially “complete” for a couple of years, the story has not yet ended. In many ways, I feel no one should write their autobiography until they are deceased. Unfortunately, there is a relatively major flaw in that line of reasoning. I also feel that to write one’s autobiography implies egocentricity. Regardless, I do intend to publish it. Maybe also that PhD thesis — better late than never.

    You also have a story to tell and you are the only one that can tell it. You still are young relative to some of us. You are an excellent writer — think of what you can leave for those future generations. You owe it to them. Think about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • oldandblessed August 12, 2020 / 1:27 am

      Thanks for the encouragement. Coming from you, it means a great deal. I’m thinking about it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. catterel August 12, 2020 / 7:32 am

    I agree. You have a unique voice and a unique story, and you have a gift of expression. Even if you don’t get it published, it will be a treasure for your descendants. I am very glad that my father wrote his memories of his youth and service in the RAF during WWII – he was in his eighties at the time, and didn’t get past 1945, but the account of his youth is precious to us. And I had the opportunity while looking after my mother to write down many of her reminiscences (some on my blog) – all very precious. We have lived through such interesting times, and the world is so different now in many ways from how it used to be. If we don’t write about our experiences, who will? Please do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rangewriter August 16, 2020 / 2:05 pm

    I agree with lew, above. You have a story to tell. No one else can tell your story. And, as you point out, if you don’t write it down, your story will most likely die with you. A sad fact of youth is that we don’t capture the stories of our elders and then when we become the elders, we recognize all that we lost. Perhaps writing segments like this in your blog, will provide you with the grist for a book. It doesn’t have to be 400 pages. It could be 100 pages. Or 200 pages. Or any number of pages that it takes to say what you have to say. No pressure. Just keep writing.


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