Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2023, I smelled leaves burning. Flashback: to carefree days, another time, another era, when a man was a man, and a girl was a girl. When the national anthem was played as the television networks signed off for the evening.

When a neighborhood was a safe place to play, when you knew, loved, hated and were indifferent to your neighbors. Nevertheless, you had a true sense of community, worked, played, and hung out together on street corners to people-watch, argue over sports and joke around. That was before Vietnam, a great divide in our country which has only increased in intensity over time.

Like the burning of leaves, crumbling. That era before Vietnam is gone. No more can we smell the leaves burning, the national anthem is no longer played as the television networks sign off, and the concept of the neighborhood is dead. Not a safe place to play or walk anymore.

It is strange how scent can conjure up evoke images of the past as strong as photos can and stay with one forever. I remember the smell of mama’s perfume. Is there a scent from your past that you can recall?

What is it? Why?

Vincent J. Tomeo