Saturday, February 25, 2006

Smell - O - Memory

I love certain smells. The smell of fresh cut grass; fresh ground coffee; pasta sauce that has been cooking slowly all day and is nice and garlicy; anything being bbq'd over hot coals(propane bbq's don't achieve this); gardenias in bloom.

Each one of these holds special memory's for me, but the gardenia one is the strongest. As a teenager, in So. Cal, we had a big beautiful house, with orange trees, apple trees, strawberry and peanut plants, a couple of ant-filled orchid trees, and gardenia plants. The gardenia plants were right outside my bedroom window, and at night, when they were in bloom, I'd have my window, which was the entire length of the wall, opened all the way, and would fall asleep to that magnificently sweet smell. My mom would clip a gardenia or two, and place them in my room as well. She was a wonderful gardner. That's one gene that wasn't passed down to me! I can even kill cactus, and as any gardner will tell you, they are extremely difficult to get rid of.

The smell of gardenias also reminds me of our vacation in Hawaii, the summer of 1973. I was 15, and my sister was 18. Oh my......2 teenage girls in the Mecca of fun! What was amazing, was as soon as we got to the Kahala Hilton on Diamond Head, which had just opened a few weeks prior to our arrival, and into our suite of rooms, mom and dad looked at us, and said: "Ok, girls, you know we wouldn't normally say this, but since we are here, and more than likely won't be here again, there is no curfew for you. Stay out as late as you want, but make sure we know where you're going and who you are going with. Otherwise, curfew will be reinstated." Of course, my sister and I were amazed by this! Not that our parents were strict, but they certainly weren't frivolous either! We had curfew back home, and it was enforced, with any infraction resulting in us losing our freedom! So boy oh boy, did the possibilities seem endless to us! And what fun we had, too!

At 15, I looked like I was 18, which was the legal drinking age in Hawaii back then. Mai Tai's, Chi Chi's, and Tropical Itches were a plenty for me and sis. Oh did we have fun. Then, we met a couple of waiters from the hotel's restaurant, and they had some Maui Wowee....and well, the fun began! Club hopping, make-out sessions, and just general "We're in Hawaii and aint it bitchin'" fun was the schedule for the entire time we were there.

But the best memory of Hawaii, was seeing my mom tipsy after drinking a Tropical Itch, by the pool, in the sun. Most everyone knows that drinking alcoholic beverages in the sun intensifies the effects. But with a Tropical Itch.......the key ingredients being 7 different kinds of rum, in a tall hour glass shaped glass with a back scratcher....which I still have to this day......and my mom, who wasn't much of a drinker, but since we were in Hawaii, the rules were a little different. We had to walk her back up to the suite, as she was getting a little, well, rambunctious for public display. Then in the room, mom decided to clip her toenails. To say that this was hilarious would be an understatement. It was just damn fuckin' funny to see mom blitzed! And at 15, this was the first time I ever had.

Here's another story of mom getting tanked while on an exotic vacation. She and dad were on a cruise to some distant foreign port, and the gang that they were with were in one of the bars on the ship, drinking shots of Oozo, not sure on the spelling for that. I believe that is a Greek liqueur, a very strong licorice flavored one. My mom had about 10 shots of that stuff, and after downing that hooch, stood up, and promptly fell to her knees. The woman had to crawl to the elevator, and crawl from the elevator to their cabin, where she proceeded to crawl into the bathroom and vomit all the contents of her stomach, at the same time, the ship had a fire, and was evacuating all of the rooms, with all guests having to put on life jackets and get to the life boats. With my mom crawling the entire way. The hang-over was enough to make her hate licorice flavored anything for the rest of her life.

Oh, and yes, it was 10 shots, as she kept each of the horn shaped shot glasses and brought them home. Proudly displaying them on the bar in the family room! LOL Please don't get the wrong impression of my mom. She wasn't a drinker during the year. Only when she and dad would take vacations, and there is a story for each one from Rome to Ireland, and even road-trips in the USA. Not all involve booze, but they all involve mom, and her wonderfully warped sense of humor!

Man, I miss that woman.