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Last Recall March 19, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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Strange the way memory works, sitting on your stoop watching the starting gate of the racetrack pass and you wonder, when you sit out in the morning watching the horses exercise or in the evening watching the gate go up and back between races, why you never smell the stables. Perhaps the valuable thoroughbreds live in climate-controlled comfort, their aroma never escaping into the neighborhood, that scent you associate with summer day camp visits for a trail ride in City Park, the doddering trail horses who–if let loose–would probably plod that well worn path and back to their stalls without human guidance; the bow-legged young women in tight jeans and boots with naturally ruddy cheeks and mastery of these great beasts as unlike the pale suburban girls in your class as Amazons, you remember them better than the horse you were assigned for three weeks in away-camp; the scent of straw and manure and horse sweat not unpleasant but because of these girls a gentle pheromone hardwired just the other side of puberty. You recall recognizing it in the scent of the grain elevators along the river that would drift when the wind was right over your high school, 1,200 young men fenced in minimum security Christian Brothers’ discipline and the only women lay teachers chosen by men who cared only for boys, this deep seated olfactory memory comes now as a powerful note in the flavor of a Flemish sour ale as the bugler plays First Call and finishes, as he always does at the Fairgrounds, in a few bars of improvisation as a scattering of those bow-legged girls in their tight blue denim skin and tooled boots ride the lead horses escorting the jockeys up to the gate.

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