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Today is Monday, December 22, 2014

Memories flooding back with scented reminders

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It’s funny how your senses can bring back memories.
Last night, I had my hair cut. After the shampoo, while my hair was still wet, I was almost like a cat with catnip.
“What is that? That scent….I know it! What is it?” I asked repeatedly as I darted my nose in and out to catch the fragrance.
It finally occurred to me: I had used that brand of conditioner when I was 24 and living in LA. Because I hadn’t used it since, it was now mysterious, yet familiar. When I placed it, there was a sense of happiness and a reminder of old friends, especially my roommates Jeanine and Andrea.
In New Orleans last summer, a similar thing happened: I had a facial at the Aveda Institute and as soon as the products were near my skin, the familiar scents on my face, I almost jolted out of the chair. I had used those products when I was 19, the first time I had lived in LA. At 19, I was out there to model, when my skin started to break out horribly. I had gone to a dermatologist practically my entire life, but mainly for little acne, nothing like this. My skin looked like sandpaper. I went to a dermatologist in L.A. who strongly recommended a new product on the market, but I had to be under his care for three months. There was not time for that. I called my doctor in Memphis, and within two weeks had moved back and started the new protocol. Yes, it had been that serious. I was full of angst. Out to pursue a dream, but there was no way it was going to happen right then.
I remembered all that during a facial simply because of four fragrances layered on my skin. But the sense of angst I first felt this time was followed by a calm; that now here I am, decades older, happy and well-situated in my life.
Scent has always been a strong sense for me; at my grandmother’s house, it was the cool marble of the bathroom mixed with Dove bars of soap, cloves, and the grass wallpaper. When I get migraines, light doesn’t bother me, but fragrance does.
At my father’s in April, honeysuckle was everywhere. Sweet, humid nights of my 10-year-old childhood came back to me, when I would watch the next-door-neighbor teenage boy walk across the street to visit the girl-next-door. They would sit on a swing in the girl’s yard and talk and talk and I would watch from my upstairs bedroom window until I became bored. The tall light blue wall was covered with honeysuckle so sweet that is hard to explain to someone who has not experienced it.
Soon peaches will be here. Oh, I know some are already ripe, but not the peaches I like. A few years back, I was visiting the farmers’ market here in Covington and I bought some peaches for cobbler. When I went home and cut one up, I couldn’t believe it- they tasted like the peaches from my grandfather’s cousin John M’s orchard. The next Saturday, I returned to the market and asked about the peaches. As it turns out, the land where the peaches were grown was adjacent to the late John M’s farm. It was the clay in the soil that made the taste different from others.
As summer begins, may your days be filled with fragrances of this season: tanning lotion, sunscreen, fruits and vegetables just grown and still warm from the sun, lemonade, just mowed grass.  

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