Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sweet and Sour Scents

Isn't it amazing how certain aromas can bring to mind certain people, events, and seasons in your past?

It's incredible, really.

For example....

My MeeMaw's purse has always smelled like Wrigley's Spearmint gum. As a child, I would rummage through her handbag, take a comforting whiff, and eat a piece. Nowadays, when I smell spearmint - I think of her. I think about how we used to ride around in her big Oldsmobile and eat breakfast. I think about her reciting scripture to me every time I called with a problem. Thankfully, I don't have to reach back too far in my memory because she is only in her seventies, alive and kickin' - still chewing spearmint and spouting off scriptures!

Another example....

I had just received a phone call that my Paw Paw was probably not going to make it this time. After surviving many strokes and heart ailments - it looked as if he was going to Glory soon. At the time, I was spending the summer on the beach in New Jersey with a student group. I strapped on my headphones and headed to the shoreline for some prayer and reflection. As I was walking back, a certain smell stopped me in my tracks. I found myself standing next to an older Jeep Wrangler with the windows down. I moved closer to it and took in a big whiff. The old leather of the Jeep smelled just like the old leather of my Paw Paw's Ford pick-up truck. Oh, it comforted me and brought me to tears all at the same time. That smell made me think about how my Paw Paw would bring me donut holes on Saturday mornings. And it reminded me of the time he attempted to teach me how to drive that old Ford without any power steering. I could just hear him saying, "You can stop at that stop sign twice next time." - when I failed to hit the breaks at an intersection.

And just yersterday, as I was Christmas shopping in a popular retail store - I picked up a bottle of lotion and smelled it. It immedieatly brought to mind leopard pants, running track, and purple hair. High School. I wore that same lotion during my junior year.

Other smelly examples? Brute cologne make me think of my Daddy. Mothballs make me think of MawMaw Louise. And fresh cut grass makes me think of hot summers in Texas.

And all this has me thinking....

What kind of fragrance does MY life give off? Do my words and actions produce a sweet smelling aroma or do they give off a sour smell? Do I leave people with a comforting scent or a rancid odor? Does a whiff of my perfume bring to mind comforting memories or troublesome moments for others?

It's something to think about.