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From the Publisher's Desk – Something sure smells around here (Jan. 20, 2016)

The nose knows.
We have multiple tasks here at The Erwin Record and over the years I’ve done some aspect of every job. Due to the horrible cold virus going around, one of the employees has been out some this month. I filled in and helped deliver the paper the first two weeks of January with fellow employee David Sheets.
The task takes several hours, including picking up the printed paper in Kingsport and stopping at the various paper boxes and stores along the way. With David, you never know what the conversation will be, but somehow we got to talking about smells.
Have you ever stopped to think about how awesome the nose is? Sure, it’s going to get the bad end of a cold and runny and stuffy. But, when it is working well, not only is it helping us breathe but it is taking in all of the delights and not so delightful odors around us.
What are some of your favorite things to smell?
I love fresh cut grass in the spring with some wild onions thrown in there. To me it is refreshing even if it means yard work is at hand. Maybe part of the appeal is the sense the smell triggers in my brain of warmer weather ahead.
Spring has its many smells of the ground waking up. It seems the earth has a fresher aroma after being awakened from a winter freeze. The fresh soil smell always makes me eager to get my hands in it and start gardening.
The flowers of spring and summer offer us some of the best smells available. Not only do they hold much beauty, but they offer an endless fragrance until the buds fade away. I must say one variety doesn’t agree with my nose. The stargazer lily can send my allergies over the top in no time.
I love the smell of fresh rain. It seems that it dances around on the earth and awakens all of the many thirsty plants, causing their fragrances to mingle.
I love the smell of fall. There is something so refreshing when the air gets crisp, especially in the mountains. I try and find a nice wooded area to drive through with my window down and my head hanging out to breathe it in.
I love the smell of a campfire or wood burning fireplace. The smell itself triggers feelings of coziness.
Have you ever been in an apple storage shed that has been closed up to protect the crop inside? The moment the door is opened, you are surrounded by the permeated air of well ripened apples.
Isn’t there something wonderful about the smell of a little baby – with a clean diaper that is. I don’t know if it is the gentle scents of the baby products or the newness it emits.
I think there is something special about an old barn. The protected wood inside and the dirt floor haven’t been touched with rain in years and have a unique, earthy odor. To make it even more special, add a crop of tobacco curing out on the tier poles inside. I haven’t smelled that in years but it was a fondness growing up when we grew the crop for market.
The smell of cigarette smoke can be overpowering. A little time around that and my eyes are burning and my nose closing up to all surroundings. However, I have smelled some amazing pipe tobaccos with rich aromas.
Of course, we all know the many wonderful smells of Christmas. The most popular is that of fresh pine after it is cut.
I love the smell of wonderful things cooking. Holidays have their own unique smells with foods from turkey in the oven to glazed ham. Certain smells can take us back to a special place and special memory.
Have you ever noticed how certain homes or certain stores have a unique smell? It’s not a bad smell but it is just unique to that place. I have been out to eat with families and could smell their home because of the clothes they were wearing. I knew from visiting their home that this was the same distinct smell.
Hardware stores have their own smell as does shops selling candles. Candy shops and bakeries have great smells. I have been standing in a parking lot near restaurants and I could smell something cooking. Sometimes it is just the smell of grease in the air but other times it can make you hungry.
Leather has a wonderful, rich smell to it. Stop in Tony Baker’s shoe repair and saddle shop on Main. It doesn’t cost a thing to walk in and inhale. Fill your nostrils and lungs with the rich aroma.
I love the smell of a new car. I don’t want to go out and buy one every time the smell starts to wear off but they do make air fresheners with that name. Evidently others enjoy the new car smell as well.
I love the smell of freshly washed sheets. All washed items come out with that crisp clean odor. I vaguely remember the scent of clothes dried on a clothesline but I know that is even better and takes the level up a notch.
I love the smell of vanilla extract. It is such a sweet, strong odor of the vanilla bean. It is one that I could just drink by itself but I know that would be horrible. Some things are better left as a smell and not a taste.
Here’s a strange one for you. I love going into a place that sells automobile tires. All of those rubber tires together fill the air with a grand aroma that is unique to them.
Not all smells are good. Some can send us running the other direction or even gagging. To me some are rotten fruit, spoiled meat, soured milk, the garbage dump on a hot summer’s day, freshly stepped in dog poo, skunks, dead animals on the roadside, pig lots, body passed gas, smelly bathrooms, wet dogs, certain cooked fish, Eastman Chemical in Kingsport on a bad day and diesel from a car exhaust.
I am sure you have your own list of good and bad. I hope I have caused you to revisit some fond places in your mind that you associate with a specific aroma.