When I was a kid, we’d head south once a year from North Carolina to Palatka, Florida, to visit my dad’s side of the family. I remember the long stretches of flatland in South Carolina, avoiding Atlanta as much as possible, and even longer stretches of swamp and scrub pine forest once you got close to Florida. But what I remember the most is that you could tell where you were once you got down there from the smells.

Just after crossing the border into Florida, for instance, there was a huge pulpwood mill that you could smell for twenty miles. You could also smell the rotting vegetation in the swamp areas, a peculiar fishy smell near any larger body of water, and some kind of indescribable pine-and-sand smell all of the time. So, I know what Kornheiser’s talking about when he describes the smell of Jacksonville.

But isn’t Kornheiser writing this for the Washington Post? Wow, a guy from the city that I remember as having rats in every trash can along the Mall is talking about the smell of Jacksonville.

I kind of like the smells. Reminds me of riding in the back of the car for hours reading while my dad urged me to pay more attention to the outdoors — as we were driving through a flat scrub pine forest on an interstate — and always knowing right when we got to the pulpwood mill.

Courtesy of Workbench