Posts Tagged ‘memories’

I’d be a terrible eye witness, but quite a good nose witness. You could blindfold me and drop me in certain spots and I’d know exactly where I was by the smell. Wouldn’t you? Some memories fade and morph into barely truthful incidents, but not olfactory memories. They remain as sharp and precise as this morning’s coffee. Just the whiff of a familiar scent can replace the present moment with one from long ago.

If one of those buildings you dropped me in was the Rialto Theater in my home town in Texas, I’d know. I’d smell popcorn, cherry coke and an explosion of peppermint gum from dating couples. But most powerful would be the scent of cool “refrigerated air.” The fifties was a time when most restaurants and drug stores had only fans and screened fronts to welcome in and stir the hot Texas air. So “20 Degrees Cooler Inside” was a lure with a palpable scent.

If I say Blue Waltz perfume and your nose doesn’t curl in disgust, then you never smeared it behind your ears and on your wrists. But if you did, I’d know. Oh, I’d know. It sold at the local dime store along side Evening in Paris, which purportedly came from France. If it didn’t, they definitely have grounds for a defamation suit.

Let me catch a whiff of a barnyard and I’m back on the plank walk above the stock pens the night before the auction. I’m on Daddy’s heels as he points out especially noteworthy animals. There were always impatient bulls, Angus, Brahma and Hereford mostly. I never let them out of my site lest they scale the heights. The strange legacy these nighttime walks left me was an affinity for stockyard smells. Which only goes to prove, I suppose, that parental attention is so powerful it can glamorize cow poop.

The pungent medicines and potients of the day are especially vivid. Of course there was Vicks Vapo-Rub and castor oil, the springtime tonic. I don’t know about other families, but we relied heavily on a brown bottle with a most unforgettable scent: Dr. J. H. McLeans Volcanic Oil Liniment. If it sounds like snake oil sold from a wagon, the picture on the label left no doubt. Mother used it to cure everything from growing pains to insect bites and cuts. Ouch! It smelled and felt like turpentine (with good reason). I have a bottle in my medicine cabinet today. My husband bought into my mother’s miracle cure and had her ship bottles to him from Texas so he would always have it on hand. So if I should lose memory of that scent all I have to do is open a bottle. Just having it in the house and smelling it cured many a childhood ache, so what can it hurt to keep it as my magic genie? Scents are that powerful.

Read Full Post »

Today has been one year since Jerry died. I don’t like to revisit unpleasantness, but want to mark this day in some way for such a wonderful husband and father. His presence when he entered a life, or even a room, changed those who experienced him forever. I am lucky to have been the one closest to him, and am forever changed and strengthened because of it.

Last year when his ashes were delivered to me, my wonderful daughter came for support, and I suspected I might need her. We opened the door exactly at the allotted time to see a small box carried by Pee Wee Herman. Not really, of course, but the funeral home rep was small with cropped hair, pointy nose, mischievous eyes and a bow tie. Without sacrificing respect he carried out his duties in an upbeat manner. He even offered to help us see if the ashes would fit the favorite of two containers my friend Pat and I had purchased. It was close, but “Pee Wee” said he could usually “massage” these things into place. And he did. Surely Jerry had something to do with his delivery by the most perfect messenger. I put his card away in my Red Book of information and told Amy to be sure and call him personally when it is my time.

Maybe this is the time to post a poem I wrote this year and then back to living a life that takes all its parts in stride, including the ones that hurt.

Profound Pronouns

Must remember to say

I, not we

Me, not us

Mine, not ours

Was, not is

Read Full Post »

A house unchanged , a house totally changed. I have time, lots of time to sort through a lifetime of possessions and I move at the speed of one with a long, lazy road before her. There is no hurry to eradicate the past, to decide what is important and not. No hurry, yet it begins to happen naturally, and what is important surprises. Of all the items piled in the corner of the table the largest is the size of a saltine cracker.  





The worry stone  Hannah slipped quietly into my hand as the memorial service began. “Hold this, Ahmaw, ” my granddaughter said, “It will keep you calm.”



His wallet. You have to open these things that have always been  a place you do not go. But you are there–a tiny picture from long ago.







His wedding ring. So it was the third in a line of replacements, the others lost who knows where.






The ubiquitous golf balls. 





Oh yeah, and the Mile High Club pin.

Read Full Post »