Favorite Things · Memories · Music · NaBloPoMo

The Nose Knows

It has been said that fragrances bring up vivid memories. It’s true. Have you ever been somewhere and caught a whiff of perfume, food, or some other odor that immediately transported you back in time?

Yesterday I had one of those moments.

You may think it was the smell of leaves and crisp air bringing back some fond childhood memory of leaping into a pile of crackling leaves.

Maybe it was catching a whiff of my newest vanilla home scent and practically tasting my Mom’s homemade cookies.

Or perhaps it was sniffing The Manimal’s freshly bathed head and remembering when he was just a wee little, well-behaved baby.

Nope. It was none of those things. I have two words for you.

Diesel fuel.

Yep. Whenever I smell diesel fuel (it was the armored truck pulling up at Target, btw), I am immediately back in high school, during marching band season. More specifically, the parking lot of the now demolished Hoosier Dome (that’s the RCA Dome for you young ‘uns out there) in Indianapolis.

This weekend, hundreds of buses and trucks will be parked in the parking lot of the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the Music for All/Bands of America Grand National Championships. By the finals tonight, nearly 10,000 kids will have played, marched, spun, danced and twirled their hearts out, some (as seniors) for the last time in their lives.

Marching band had a profound impact on my life. I joined in 1983 because the band was going to perform in the Orange Bowl Parade and I wanted to go to Florida. I stayed because I loved the activity, the music, the friendships. I learned about pride and working hard, how to be a team player, how to manage my time, how to set goals and work for them, and oh yeah, how to play music with my whole heart.

I eventually went on to study music education in college and was a high school band director for five years. My band wasn’t huge, but they had heart. They had spirit. They had class. I hope that maybe, some of them have the same vivid memories of band that I do. That even 25 years later, maybe, when they smell the diesel fuel, they will be transported back in time, with wonderful memories, to a place where they learned about life through band.

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