The aroma of chicken soup cooking on the stove or the scent of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven may bring you back to your grandmother’s kitchen full of warmth and love. You might be embraced with memories when a bit of Shalimar or Chanel #5 drifts by as you walk down the street evoking your mother’s scent when she tucked you in at night. The salty sea air as you approach the ocean, hot dogs on the grill, brisket in the oven, spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove, roses along the path all may tickle the tiny hairs in your nose with memories as warm as a fluffy down comforter.
A few days ago, as I walked down a street in Delray Beach, Florida with the sun on my back enjoying the 80 degree weather, the sky clear, no humidity, all was right with the world, although there were no special scents in the air. For some reason unknown to me, the air in Delray is not salty. There is no fishy scent like at the Jersey shore or along the coast of New England where I first became aware of the aroma while on vacation with my family when I was only five. Whenever I smell that particular fishy fragrance, I am right back on the ferry holding my father’s hand crossing some body of water, where I have no idea, and it makes me smile. So, with nothing evoking any beautiful memories, I strolled down the street window shopping. My destination was Murder on the Beach, a little book store on NE 2nd Ave in Pineapple Grove.
I stopped in a cookie shop, inhaled the fresh baked treats and asked for an iced coffee which to my disappointment they didn’t have. For some unknown reason, I do not like hot coffee, but iced is one of my favorite drinks on a warm sunny day. And let’s not forget the aroma of fresh brewed java. Even for someone who doesn’t drink the beverage, I love the way it smells.
Sans coffee, I walked a little further down the strip mall and opened the door to Murder on the Beach. An absolutely magnificent aroma hit me. Books. Lots of books. Real books, not e-books. Books with pages to turn, books with covers calling out to be opened. Though most of them were new, the scent was as warm and inviting as Grandma’s arms and brought visions of dusty shelves stacked full of treasures waiting to be discovered in the pages. All I wanted to do was sink into one of the wing chairs in the back of the store with a cup of tea and lose myself in a story.
Barnes and Nobel is a wonderful place to browse. It’s full of all kinds of books and magazines on all sorts of topics and in all genres, but it does not have the feel or fragrance of a little independently owned bookstore where you can sit on the floor, browse the shelves and let the hours pass by. I wish there were more of these gems.