Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)
TITLE: Fragrant Recollections
By Judy Schwab
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I’ve read that nothing can trigger a special memory quicker than a fragrance. Not too long ago I was out for my evening walk and just happened t o pass by a bush in full bloom with old-fashioned roses. Instantly I was transported back in time to my childhood home and the roses that grew just outside the kitchen door. I was always trying to pick a bouquet to give to my Mom in spite of the thorns and she always made sure to put them in a special vase kept just for such occasions.
Another fragrance that conjures up warm, fuzzy memories is the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree. Our family did not have a great deal of money but we always had a real tree and our little apartment would be redolent with the fragrance of pine, fir, or blue spruce. Being the youngest it was my job to crawl beneath the tree and see that it got its daily “drink”.
Cooking smells are another source of pleasant remembrances. Before it became ordinary to buy bread at the local store, my Mom would bake fresh loaves of bread then line them up on the windowsill to cool. I recall how shiny they were for she greased the tops to keep them soft. The best part of all, of course, was when they had cooled enough to slice and then cover with real butter and homemade jelly. We didn’t know about cholesterol, we only knew about the delicious taste of this ordinary delicacy.
Even today certain fragrances take my breath away even though they occur year to year. Consider the way it smells when you step outside after the first spring rain. Everything smells so “new” and the odor of wet earth reminds you that winter is over and something wonderful is happening.
In the fall, the pungent odor of autumn leaves tells you winter is on its way but not without one last vibrant display of color before the world becomes shades of white and brown.
There are two brief instances, very personal and very real, in which the word “fragrance” holds more than a sentimental attachment.
The first instance happened just shortly after my Mom passed away. She had lived with me for fifteen years and always had the largest bedroom. But she was gone and I decided to stay in the room for a while before the house was sold. I had scrubbed everything thoroughly, wanting to remove the “sickroom” odors and maybe the memories too. The carpet had been cleaned, furniture polished, drapes washed etc. One day I was sitting in the room reading when I smelled Mom’s favorite Avon scent wafting all around me. I checked to see if it was coming from my chair or some forgotten Avon container but there was nothing to explain it and I thought no more about it. It happened again a couple of days later and I laughed out loud telling Mom I appreciated her stopping by. It never happened again, but I have no doubt she was letting me know that even though she was physically gone, she was still watching over me.
The second event happened almost forty years ago when my four month old son died of SIDS, only it didn’t have an official name at the time. I was the one who found him and if I close my eyes and recall the events of that day, as painful as they were, what I recall most is that wonderful fragrance he still had. If you have ever picked up an infant after a nap you know what I mean. It’s a “warm” smell and totally given to babies only. I do not associate the fragrance with death by any means and am still inclined to breathe deeply when holding an infant in my arms. You see I believe, with all my heart that this smell we associate with babies is as close as we will ever get to knowing what it is like to lean our own heads upon the chest of our own heavenly Father. It is the fragrance of love and it is perfect.
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