Friday, May 23, 2014

The Power of Scent

It is such a beautiful morning that it was perfect for a little chore I needed to take care of outside. My deck flowerpots needed cleaned out and readied for planting all those lovely posies I bought yesterday. (I had Mother's Day gift money to spend, which made it all that much more fun.)

I was working away, stuffing brittle plant remains into the big black trash bag, when I had a definite sense of my father.

In 1978 my family moved to southwest Colorado, where Mother and Daddy visited us
that October. They are standing by one of the big trees in our backyard.

I am not of that school of belief that thinks everywhere we go our beloved dead are trailing along at our shoulders.

Then I knew why Daddy was in my mind.

The last ten or fifteen years of his life Daddy, a fair-skinned redhead, was plagued with skin cancers. Every so often he would have another bit nipped off. Because of the skin cancer problem he had to be very careful of sun exposure. He had spent a great deal of time outdoors all his life, and was not going to be penned up inside for the rest of his life.

That meant liberal applications of sunscreen.

Having inherited my father's fair coloring (though not his red hair), I must be careful of sun exposure. I burn very quickly. So this morning I applied sunscreen to my face before I went outside.

Sunscreen has a very distinct smell.

Daddy always smelled faintly of sunscreen.

Instant memory jog!
Rose and Red standing by the Last Rose of Summer in our backyard.


  1. Cool! I associate the smell of fresh cucumber with Grandpa. I loved going out to the garden with him to pick out a cucumber. I'm not sure I'm remembering this right but I think he took out a pocket knife and peeled it for me. Anytime I peel a cucumber, I think of Grandpa.

    1. I love these memory associations! And I'm sure your memory is right about him peeling the cucumber with his pocket knife.