A to Z Challenge 2012 – Basic Association

I’m frequently amazed at how completely, vivid memories of my child hood are associated with the things I do today. Some pleasant, some not so much.

My mother used to make beef stew from time to time, and she wouldn’t use bouillon at all. She’d brown the meat in the frying pan, and when the pan cooled, she’d take some water and some flour and heat it all back up again, making it beef stock. I was not aware of this process back when I was 13 however.

I wasn’t exactly what one might call the most helpful of thirteen-year-olds, so it was pretty out of character for me, but one day, I came strolling through the kitchen and saw that my mother had clearly forgotten to clean out the frying pan she’d used for browning the meat. Poor mom, I thought. She must be very tired. I know, I’ll help out! I washed that pan to a sparkly shine. There, that’s better. She’ll be so surprised! And she was.

The irony was not lost on me even at that age, that I got in trouble (like, vein-popping ire) for the one time I washed something I noticed was dirty. Every time I even think of the word “stew”, I think about that day. Incidentally, she simply used bouillon that time, and it came out fine.

I talked a bit some posts ago about using a magnifying glass as a kid to burn things. You can go ahead and read it, I’ll wait.

Anyway, to this day, the smell of burning plastic reminds me of melting trash bags with a magnifying glass. Fortunately I don’t get to smell burning plastic often (as it’s toxic!) so that memory, as vivid as it is, doesn’t get drawn up too often.

I was sitting one time talking with a brother of mine about this same sort of thing, the basic associations… He mentioned that he was once up in the Berkshire mountains, and one day while adding cream to his coffee, he was thinking about that day in the mountains, and now whenever he watches freshly added cream swirl in his coffee, he thinks of the Berkshires.

…Now of course, every time I see cream swirling in my coffee, I think of him thinking about the Berkshires!

I have tons of these, but I thought I’d keep it fairly short, for those of you who are stopping by for the A to Z challenge.

Do you have any basic associative thoughts like this?


10 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge 2012 – Basic Association

  1. Oh, that story is a bit sad – you were trying to be helpful. Yes, I do have associative thoughts that get triggered from time to time. It’s great for writing.karen

  2. Love the story! I absolutely have associative thoughts, although I can’t think of one right now! Weird, right? Oh well! Can’t wait to read more.

  3. I just did that 2 weeks ago with some chicken stock! Thing was, I had to get up, get dressed, then go to the store. Bleeeeeee!As for a magnifying class. One kid in our 5th grade class, probably now doing life in San Quentin, stole the magnifier from an overhead projector. Dude, that thing would spark a fire under the California sun in a heartbeat!

    • Wow, that’s bloody genius, I never even considered that. There’s gotta be tons of those sitting around somewhere, nobody uses those old over head projectors anymore.

  4. Good stuff. I have associations all the time, every time I eat a hamburger outside, it reminds me of high school days at the BK on Bolling AFB. Good Stories.

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