Posts Tagged ‘Nag’s Head’

Every family has sayings that have been around forever, sayings whose beginnings are shrouded so thickly in the mists of time that no one can remember where they came from.   Others, everyone remembers.  Some of my family’s favorite quotes are the original Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers.

“Now is not the time, Cato!”

“Now is the time, Cato!”

“Don’t let my legs fool you.  I’m really a man.”

“Do you have a room by the pool?”  (But pronounced more like a ruuuum by the pewl. You really have to hear it.)

Anyway….”Ah, the aroma” is one that came from a place that none of us remember, from my pre-marriage family.  But I thought of it both yesterday and today.

Our rental house in Naperville has a small bay window above the sink in the kitchen that’s just made for plants, the perfect indoor kitchen garden where you can grab the herbs you need for dinner without setting foot outside.  This summer, I potted some herbs there and a jasmine plant purchased a year earlier from Trader Joe’s, that once filled the entire first floor of our Cleveland home with the scent of jasmine, all from a plant not two feet high.  I cut the jasmine plant back drastically, letting it decide if it would recover or not.  The herbs survived even my husband’s neglect of them, most of them even thriving on it.  However, when the cold came, cancer came and the work became (or stayed) heavy, there’s was a bit of hurtin’ from lack of attention.

The rosemary looks good.  The parsley and oregano are OK, the basil a bit leggy but a bit of pinching back will help there.  The thyme’s time, though, seems to have come and gone, the jury on the possibility of recovery so far out that they aren’t even in the courtroom anymore.

But yesterday while I was working in the kitchen, a fragrant smell crept to my nose and, peering up under the partially-down blind, I saw two lovely jasmine flowers; two tiny flowers perfuming an entire kitchen, reminding me of the first time I smelled live jasmine.

The girls were little and we were driving to Florida for vacation with a stop in Nag’s Head, N.C.  We had to watch our money but found a fairly spacious cabin-like motel room in a motel on the beach which, since it was out of season, was affordable.  It had a kitchen so we could make our own meals, plenty of room ,and outside the door was a huge jasmine bush.  The smell permeated the entire cabin and surrounding area.  At the end of a day of walking bundled up along an empty beach, it welcomed us back.

I moved the herbs and the jasmine plant to the raised, brick hearth of the fireplace we don’t use.  They sit next to a large, by now antique, crock from my grandparents Nebraska farm, a lot like the one pictured here, filled with wood for the fireplace we’re not currently using.  The whole set-up looks very Martha Stewart, although I’m sure she would have made the crocks herself by hand from materials she found and dug up on her own farm, a farm she started and build up from scratch;the bricks taken from an old building she tore down, then used to made both the fireplace and hearth (ala “Little House on the Prairie”) by hand as well;  the herbs and jasmine grown from heirloom seeds she was willed by her great-great-grandparents.

Oh, well, as I sit with my book and my Guinness in a non-heirloom, nor handmade, chair from IKEA, I enjoy the subtle smell of the jasmine, taking me back to that cold, lovely North Carolina beach. Ah, the aroma.  Eat your heart out, Martha!