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A Half-Baked Memory
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This morning a pot holder somehow got into the oven along with the vegetarian style "bacon" we often have for breakfast.

I first noticed the smell. An odd smell. Like something burning but not exactly smoky. I thought it must be a bit of cookie or muffin that had dropped through the rack previously. Only after we'd eaten did I find the nicely browned pot holder wedged against the oven's back wall.

The strange smell lingered for quite awhile. It kept intruding on my thoughts in the way a few notes of a song whose name I can't quite recall sometimes will. The smell seemed familiar but for an hour I couldn't place it. Then I thought, "melted crayons."

Why would a singed pot holder smell like melted crayons?

Yet, that's the memory it evoked. Except I couldn't recall under what circumstances I would have encountered melted crayons.

A few minutes later I thought, "crayons left on a radiator." I could definitely smell the runny wax.

What radiator? Where? Had it been me who'd left the crayons on the radiator when I was a kid? Or had it been one of my kids who'd left them there?

Why? Under what circumstances? Was there a story in it?

I haven't been able to remember anything else. Maybe that's all that's there -- the memory of an unusual smell, unrelated to anything, tucked away and buried in my mental attic, a useless but unique trinket of sensation my brain couldn't bring itself to discard.

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