Most people say that scent is the sense tied to memory — I believe taste is a close second.
After a long night and a short morning of sleep on a recent weekend spent in Billings, I went to breakfast with some friends.
As soon as I opened the menu I knew exactly what I wanted — a Belgian waffle.
Thank you, Perkins, for printing delicious pictures in your menu.
This was no subtle food craving, it was deeply rooted in the cortexes of my brain.
Even the thought of eating this mass of carbohydrates flooded my mind with images of laughing with friends, hours spent writing and the great outdoors near Story, Wyo.
The spark of these memories started at Young Writer's Camp (YWC), which I attended as a high school-aged kid. On the first day of camp in 2004 we were teamed up to write something as partners. I was teamed up with Jason Cooper, the camp faculty member who taught screenplay writing.
Together, we wrote a story about an odd character, Brian Ariel. We decided our protagonist's name should be a combination of characters we liked at the time — The Little Mermaid (his) and Brian Griffin from Family Guy (mine).
Tangent: Nothing epitomizes the YWC like a big burly, bearded man in a red flannel shirt and overalls who knits and likes the Little Mermaid.
The story Jason and I wrote filled one short page in my journal with atrocious chicken scratch I call my penmanship.
Brian Ariel and his best friend “Blank” go on a dining excursion from the pancake house to Baskin Robbins where Brian is continually proclaiming that this and that, from goldfish crackers to waffles, are his favorite foods.
One short line of dialogue from our tale became a catch phrase for me and a tie to camp for years to come.
“Dude, I love waffles.”
After camp there were a handful of meetings of campers at the Perkins in Sheridan to share in the enjoyment and elation of waffles.
At a mere mention, a few YWC alumni proclaimed the need to have another waffle meeting this summer.
This all resulted from a simple memory and the desire to eat a waffle.
I find in times of confusion in life, we often regress or try to find the feelings of simpler times.
I had a stressful couple of weeks recently, and for no reason I had the undying desire to eat waffles with my favorite topping — strawberries. This craving came to fruition that morning at the Perkins just off King Avenue and 19th Street in Billings while I dined in bliss with two newer friends after a night of youthful frivolity.
This, of course, led to the need to connect to my camp friends current and old to reaffirm — dudes, I love waffles.
In short, thanks to camp, I can recall this amazing experience and the feelings of peace and self-realization.
Oh, the magic of camp, simple foods and memories.
The camp is sponsored by the Sheridan Arts Council and takes place from July 24 -31 in Story. Admissions still are open, and applying is easy to do at the camp website, www.youngwriterscamp.com.