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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Flowers (10/03/05)

TITLE: Smells That Take You Home
By Donna Haug


Smells That Take You Home
By Donna Haug
October 9, 2005

Walking home from school for lunch in the Brazilian, tropical mid-day sun was a killer. As I stepped outside of the school hallway, the heat would slam onto my shoulders and seem to weigh me down. My four siblings and I would walk as quickly as we could from one shady spot to the next, slowing down as much as we could under the trees without actually stopping. My favorite shady stop was under the very first tree just outside the school property. It was a frangipani tree, covered with the most beautiful flower in my little world. It’s satiny smooth white petals contrasting with the warm yellow splash in the center never failed to brighten my day. Although it was a beautiful flower, the best part was jumping up as high as I could to get one for myself. A feeling of satisfaction would come over me like a warm blanket - not to be confused with that Brazilian sunshine. I would step onto the burning sidewalk with the frangipani at my nose. The sweetness of that smell would carry me all the way home. Neither the sweat running down my back nor the white sticky sap turning my fingers black could stop me from enjoying that precious little flower.

Ten minutes later, I would step into the shade of the back veranda at our house to find the table set for lunch and my mother carrying the last few items to the table. She would greet us all with a smile of welcome. Invariably I would head straight for my mother and hand to her my “love offering” – a slightly wilted and well-smelled flower. After an appropriately long sniff that would make her close her eyes and say “Ummm!”, she would place it in a small glass of water and put in a place of honor on the window sill.

To this day frangipani flowers have a special place in my heart. I am blessed to once again live in a tropical country, and frangipani trees are all around. There are so many different varieties. Some look like they got carried away as they splashed in the yellow. Others are a delicate shade of pink or a tangy orange hue. All of them smell delicious, but none are so special as the pearly white ones with the buttery centers. They remind me of the comforts of home and of a mother who loves me.

My boys, on the other hand, have a very strange habit. At times during home school, one or the other of them will snuggle up to me and sniff my arm saying, “Mom, you smell good!” I thought this was kind of sweet until I figured out they were smelling my armpits! Ok, these guys are weird! Thank God for deodorant! Maybe I should introduce them to the little white flowers growing on the two special trees we have just planted in our front yard! I’ll go get a glass of water ready, just in case.

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This article has been read 1272 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 10/10/05
Your lack of anonymity got past Debs! I can see and smell the flowers as you write. A lovely picture of home and childhood memories.
Donna Haug10/10/05
Yeah! I noticed that after. I've been out of this for a while! Is it written somewhere to remind people to keep it out? Sorry!! Missed it.
Deborah Porter 10/10/05
Sorry Donna - I missed a lot of the weekend entries this time around. It's because I'm judging so am not checking things until I actually read and rate them. So you slipped on by. Never mind - you aren't being penalized for it ... but don't do it again - grrrr (hee hee - ain't I tough!?)

Lovely to see you back in action! Love, Deb
Deborah Porter 10/10/05
Hee hee - and yes, to answer your question, the warning is right next to the submission area. In BIG red letters. LOL!
Teresa Oswald10/10/05
The last part reminds me of my sister and her husband. They dated in college and he was always commenting how great her perfume smelled. She didn't wear perfume. Come to find out, he was entranced by her deodorant!
Gabrielle Morgan10/11/05
I could feel that tropical Brazilian climate and smell the frangipanis. A lovely vignette of family life.
Anita Neuman10/12/05
This was a delightful read! I love how you tied it all together at the end. Beautiful!
Jeffrey Snell10/12/05
Haha! Kids are so hysterical at times! Good narrative tone. You might want to watch your opening sentence--it was a little overpacked and took me a second read. Thanks for sharing the neat personal history.
Garnet Miller 10/14/05
I like this article. It's amazing that a simple smell can transport us back to a simpler, happier time!
Julianne Jones10/14/05
This was delightful. I too love fragipani and regret that we can't grow them where we live. You transported me back in time - thank you!
Val Clark10/15/05
A delightful description of simpler times. Have two ancient frangipani's in my garden, both with 'buttery centers' - great description. Yeggy
Suzanne R10/15/05
Lovely - I can almost smell the frangipanis myself. But boys, eh?!
Cassie Memmer10/15/05
I like your story, though I have no idea what a frangipani is! Never heard of it. Sounds delightful. Enjoyed the homeschool mention, we did that. Nice writing!
Linda Watson Owen10/15/05
Really sweet story! I'd love to see one of your 'frangi' flowers!