The weather here is West Central Ohio has been a bit erratic these days swinging from almost 100 over Memorial Day weekend to the high 60's and low 70's this past week and for the next few days. The mornings have been cool and crisp and I find myself breathing deep the morning air as I navigate my way to work in the mornings. I love the smells of the morning and they say a smell can conjure a memory...this is one of them.
Driving onto campus in the morning I'm met with the strange combination of pancakes and Downy. The P&G plant where they produce Downy is less then a half mile away and when there is a perfume (term for the Downy scent concentrate) spill the air is filled with the unmistakable scent of Downy. Could be worse I suppose, out here is rural America it could be a hog farm instead. The cafeteria serves breakfast and they are often doing all the lunch prep work as I'm driving onto campus in the mornings and for some reason it smells like pancakes.
When I was a young girl I was lucky enough to have a horse, which was an incredible blessing for a young horse crazed girl living in the middle of suburbia which had swallowed the local farms and agriculture. Stormcloud was me but in an equine body...he was stout, surefooted, playful and STUBBORN as all get out! Appaloosa's are just that way but he was all mine.
My girlfriend across the street got a horse at the same time and although she boarded her horse at Quantico we often did things together with our horses as she had a horse trailer too. One of those things was Pony Club and although I was outclassed by the rich girls and their expensive trained horses I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about myself and my horse. One of the things we did was attend Pony Club camp every year for a week in Frying Pan Park where we learned about horsemanship, horse training, 3-day eventing and how to take your bra off without removing your shirt. Hey...that last one is a lifetime skill...you never know when and where that skill will come in handy, but I digress.
We slept in the old school house in sleeping bags on the old hardwood floor, which seems harsh now looking back on it, but we were so tired every night we probably didn't feel it. Some Mom volunteers were there with us throughout the night and between all the mom's rotating shifts we were fed lunch and dinner. Breakfast was a special treat! Doing our morning chores in the barns each morning we all waited for the sound of 'the bell' off in the distance. That bell was the signal of Breakfast...and oh what a good breakfast it was.
The bell belonged to the little Presbyterian church that was about a mile around the corner from the park entrance, but just a quick walk along the power lines at the back of the park where the barns were. If we timed our work right and all worked together to get each stall and tackroom cleaned and ready for morning inspection we could sprint to the church before the boys got there. God bless those ladies, they were ready for the 30 or so kids every morning, with smiles and hugs. We had a different special every day which was always yummy but they also made pancakes every morning.
That smell of pancakes wafting up and over the hills of the power lines in the cool, moist (this was the DC area in august when the humidity is like 100%) morning air and made our tummies grumble as we scooped poop is the stuff memories are made of.