Friday, August 5, 2011

Do you smell it too?

Matthew Freeman, St. Louis poet extraordinaire, was interviewed by Walrus Press.
"I like it all, the hipsters and the hoosiers."
Matthew is a cool dude. I know him personally. I like him and I like his philosophy. In St. Louis, hoosiers is not a geographical reference; it is a colloquialism that refers to white trash. Matthew likes everyone.

He also said St. Louis has its "smells". So true. Every ethnic neighborhood emits its own aroma. This is to be expected in any town in America. But a walk around the block in an inner city melting pot neighborhood is like removing lids from several countries. The aroma of oregano and spaghetti sauce takes one to Italy. Sauerkraut simmering emits a vision of the far away Rhineland. Meat grilling outdoors evokes visions of fourth of July picnics where barbeque sauce slathers burgers, ribs and shirtfronts. Bacon frying is a flashback to home grown tomatoes.

Drive past the brewery in St. Louis and smell the hops; it is a distinguishable odor.
Stop at the traffic signal downtown at Ruth's Chris Steak House and the smell of sizzling meat could make a vegetarian salivate.
How can anyone drive past a White Castle and not inhale onion?
Motor oil from garages out back of bungalows and grease from repair shops permeates the air in blue collar neighborhoods.
Downtown abandoned factories and towering, brick warehouses trip musty memories of yesteryear.
I could go on and on. How about you? Can you add any specific thoughts about your specific neighborhood smells?

9 comments:

Val Thevictorian said...

Well, there's the river-bottom hog farm I used to drive through twice a day commuting to work at my old school. Words can't properly do it justice. It was enough to make me long for my previous most obnoxious smell: the Anheuser Busch hops on the way to Busch Stadium.

Bookie said...

Very interesting blog today! Timely too since with 60,000 camping Vietnamese visitors to this 12,000 population town the aroma of food cooking floats over my backyard. I don't know how to explain it: rice with a warm and spicy sauce covering it is as close as I can get!

Linda O'Connell said...

Val, I have also gotten a snootful of that smell. Today it was garbage truck we were behind dripping its life blood all over the pavement we were drivng on, which left a nose wrinkling odor on our tires. I thought if what Mama said comes true, and my face freezes like this, my students won't be happy.

Linda O'Connell said...

Claudia, wow, do you have a relocation goingon inyour town? We have a huge Bosnian population. I can almost smell that rice.

Bookie said...

Note relocation. The Vietnamese gather here the first weekend in August for Marian days at the local seminary which is about two blocks from my house. They all crowd onto the same few acres in tents for cooking, eating, visiting, and prayers. They are quiet and will be gone by Sunday noon...a few days later you won't see a spec of trash there!

Bouncin' Barb said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today on my special bloggaversary. I look forward to getting familiar with your blog after I get rid of my migraine (2days) and my eyes don't hurt. That was quite a bit of work but so worth it. Glad to meet you and seeing you again soon!

Karen Lange said...

One of the areas I enjoy visiting is Hershey, PA. You can smell the chocolate...it is wonderful!

Chatty Crone said...

When you walk down China Town.

Claudia Moser said...

Bakery smell, love it! Great new picture on th eblog by the way!