Why I Love the Smell of Blacktop

The crews are finally starting to lay blacktop in downtown La Crosse, signaling the eventual end of at least some of the ripped up roads being put back together.  

People think that I’m crazy when I say, “I LOVE the smell of blacktop!!”

But I do really love it!  Smells can trigger memories, and every time I smell blacktop, it takes me back to the Belford Drive-In; an outdoor movie theater located between Belvidere and Rockford, IL.  

When we were kids going to the drive-in for a movie was a real special treat.  We’d all pile into our Dodge station wagon and head over there.  It was so exciting!  

When I was about four years old, I remember going there on a steamy hot summer night.  They had just finished laying blacktop down and the smell was intoxicatingly good to my young nostrils.  It was nice and warm underfoot too.  I recall getting out of our station wagon to walk on it in my fuzzy, pink socks.

I also recall my mother’s horror as she saw the bottoms of said pink, fuzzy socks—which were quickly covered in black tar.  

Mind you, I thought that was pretty cool.  They became grippy-bottomed socks.  They actually sell those these days and issue them in hospitals.  I was ahead of my time, even though I had no idea what I had done back then.

Regardless, every time I smell blacktop, it takes me back to the Belford Drive-In.  Those were good times.  I love that smell.

Of course I also love the smell of racing fuel.  Perhaps it’s just a petroleum-based product thing?