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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)

By Michelle Fout


This weekend was the fifteenth anniversary of my father’s death. It passed with little fuss or fanfare; no strong battles of grief or regret. I did make a point to go out with my boys this weekend and spend time with them. We went to a game arcade place that they love but we don’t go to very often. It is downtown and expensive, the element it draws can be intimidating and the lounge allows a place to smoke, but sometimes it is worth the bother and today was one of those times.

As I sit here waiting for dinner to cook, I think back on the day my boys and I shared. I am aware that I have the smell of cigarette smoke in my nose and it transports me to my childhood dinner table where I would scoot up onto dad’s lap and eat black olives out of the can with him as mom fixed dinner. I would know my dad blindfolded just by his body odor not because it was bad, but because it was unique to him. Dad was a blue collar worker all his life and had a thin oily residue of sweat that clung to his body after a hard day of factory work in a steel company. Even on his days off, my dad’s western style shirts would smell like Marlboro Reds and Red Devil lighter fluid. Every evening I would take my place on his lap but I wouldn’t be there for two minutes before he would fish out of his left chest pocket a flip-top box of short white cigarettes and his silver Zippo lighter along with a growled caution, “Hang on you little wiggle-worm, you’re gonna smash my smokes!” I know it sounds ridiculous, but I never outgrew this habit. Even as a teenager it seemed that dad’s lap was a refuge for me, a safe haven. A place where love was defined by the aromas I found there.

I miss my dad most during moments like this, when the personal smell of him is so close by but I know that Jesus is my Father too much more than my dad. I sometimes wonder what Jesus smelled like while he did his work here on earth. Jesus must have had his own unique body odor. Working with his men through long days of travel on the road, stuck behind caravans of livestock must have given him a similar stench of the working class. I can imagine it well enough; it would probably be easy to identify what kind of day he’d had- if his skin smelled of dust and sweat and sheep, then it was probably a day spent walking the roads between cities. If he smelled of fish and fresh salty air then he and the boys most likely spent the day down at the docks or in nearby markets. Fresh fragranced oil and incense clinging to clean wool would speak of time spent teaching in the temple of God.

It comforts me now to imagine sitting on His lap like I did as a child with my dad; leaning back into his thick scratchy wool robe with its own oils and enjoying the warm scent of his skin permeating through soft linens. It is good to feel his arms around me now that dad’s are gone; refreshing to be near him, close to him at the end of the day. I hope I never outgrow this habit either. I know that there will be a morning when all my imaginings will pale and fade to reveal the awesome truths of my God. I look forward to that homecoming when I am scooped up in the embrace of my one true Heavenly Father and I finally inhale into my being the sweet everlasting fragrance of his love.

Gen. 27:27 So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes he was finally convinced and he blessed his son. He said “The smell of my son is the good smell of the open fields that the Lord has blessed…”

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This article has been read 593 times
Member Comments
Member Date
dub W11/01/05
This is a very nice personal essay. An edit or two and it gets even better. Thanks for posting.
Janice Stotz11/01/05
I've never thought of what Jesus may smell like...what his defining fragrance may be. Very clever and well done!
Jan Ackerson 11/02/05
It's interesting some of the smells you chose to show in a positive light. Unique!
Nina Phillips11/03/05
I agree. Wonderful outline, and essay. Touching. God bless ya, littlelight