Dad always had a knack for influencing my senses. Once a babysitter’s sister smoked cigarettes while we were in a car. I loved the smell. Until I told Dad. Back then, no one knew about the dangers of second-hand smoke, but Dad (a former smoker, in which Mom beat the habit out from him) knew the smell was terrible, which led to his speech about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. It was the ultimate ‘do not smoke’ conversation. The following day, we rode in the back seat of the babysitter’s car. The sitter’s sister pulls out a cigarette to start puffing away. And, all of the sudden, my nose didn’t enjoy her smoke anymore. I rolled down the window. The sitter yelled at me to roll the window up, “…because the air conditioner is on!” In an attempt to filter the smoke from my nose, I used my hand to cover my nose, my head away from her and I buried my face into the car seat. The babysitter’s sister made jokes about my dislike for the smell of cigarettes as she continued to casually puff away. Thankfully, she didn’t light another one.
As we’re at the height of Summer’s juicy bounty, we’re also a few weeks away from the start of a crisp autumn. Continue to savor the taste of summer in a leafy salad tossed with juicy cubes of watermelon, sweet shrimp, and creamy feta cheese with a few crunchy pistachios and celery pieces. While you’re at it, drizzle a lovely Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette to bring out summer’s juicy flavors, because autumn is still weeks away. Read more
My sister and I watched Dad turn and fertilize the soil of his garden. Plant seedling plants for the tomatoes, string beans, black-eyed peas, squash, zucchini, and cantaloupe. We mostly watched the cantaloupe grow into long vines. Among the leaves, small buds gradually grew to burst into yellow blossoms. Then the beginning of the cantaloupe would appear. When it was at full size, my sister and I started a non-verbal game of who can get to the melon first. Picking a melon too early resulted in a bland taste, but if it stayed too long on the vine, it would rot on the ground. A melon is ready when the bottom has an overripe, sweet smell. My sister had the advantage of watching the melons, because her bedroom window over looked the garden. Often, I would come home to find her finishing a whole melon. When I found a just ripe melon, I would eat it in less than 20 minutes. One year, Dad complained he never ate a melon from the garden, because my sister and I found them first.