Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Scent of a Woman

I don't remember her like I remember my other grandmother.  The one I've dreamed about and the one who bought me banana splits.  However, there are certain things that I can attribute to her.  I think of her every year when I place 15 hand made, personalized ornaments on my Christmas tree.  She taught me how to dive when I was 8 or 9.  I still can't swim, but I can dive - both backwards and forwards.  I'm pretty sure she's the first person who made me a peanut butter and pickle sandwich - hey, don't knock it until you try it. Those are all just little snippets.  I don't have the deep, broad memories that I have with my other Grandmother.

But there is one thing that immediately brings me back to that tiny little kitchen in that old farmhouse.  Her scent, heavy and thick, hung in the air.  It was rich and indulgent.  I could walk in the door and that scent would fill me up.  So powerful that it tingled my taste buds.  I could close my eyes and savor the creaminess pouring into my belly, feel the smoke burning my throat.  It would surround me and stay with me long after I had left her.  It clung to her always.  No shower or swim or hard day's work could erase it.  The perfect mix of her vices - coffee and cigarettes.  The warm, bold aroma of her most recently brewed pot swirled sweetly with the harsh smell of the freshly burned tobacco.

I loved that smell.  To this day, I still love that smell - but it has to be just the right concoction.  Too much coffee and it's just coffee.  Too much cigarettes and I hate it.  Neither of the smells independently do anything for me.  But the combination of the two, in just the right amounts always makes me smile.  For a fleeting moment I can hear the rough smokiness of her laugh, feel my small fingers inside her weathered hand and remember the woman she was before she was gone.

This post was written in response to a prompt at the Red Dress Club: This week's assignment was to write a post about a sound or scent that brings you right back to your past.

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