Front Porch Lemonade

A few days ago while I was standing at the cantaloupe bin pretending to know how to pick out a ripe cantaloupe, an older gentleman passed by me. I smiled at him and watched as he headed over to the bagged lettuce section. Then I caught the smell of his aftershave, and for a moment, my mind traveled back in time to a chilly fall Saturday morning spent up at Nannie and Granddaddy’s house in Dalton, GA.
Although they lived in the country, the only farm animals that they had were a pony, a stray dog or two, and a few chickens. My favorite thing to do when we were up at their house was to get up early with Granddaddy and go out to help him take care of the animals. That and drink his very special coffee, which consisted of a little coffee, a little more cream, and a whole lot of sugar.
After coffee, we got ready and headed down the basement steps to tend to the animals. We had reached the last step when I realized I had forgotten a coat, and it was nippy in the early dawn light. Granddaddy handed me one of his jackets along with a flashlight, opened the door, and out we went. I shined the flashlight on the ground and almost ran to keep up with his long strides. We reached the barn and Granddaddy headed over to the feed barrels. I stood and watched as he reached in the barrel. A cool breeze blew through the barn and I pulled Granddaddy’s huge jacket closer around me. As my arms crossed, I lifted my left arm up and brought it closer to my cold nose. He turned around to hand me the full feed bucket and stared at the only thing visible on my face: my eyes. My nose and mouth by then were buried in the crook of my arm right at the elbow of his jacket. I remember Granddaddy wrinkling his forehead and asking, “What in the world are you doing now, Judi-Baby,” for it seems I was always exploring in the barn.
Without lowering my arm, I inhaled deeply once again breathing in the familiar scent of his aftershave and gave him a muffled reply, “I’m smelling you.”
“Ohhhh, Judi-Baby,” Granddaddy laughed, shook his head, and extended his hand, waiting on me to take the chicken feed. I lowered my arm and took the bucket, a huge grin on my face. We finished tending to the animals and headed back towards the house. We had taken just a few steps when Granddaddy stopped and scooped me up. I wrapped my arms around him and laid my head on his shoulder. I always felt safe and secure when I was with my Granddaddy.
Now many years later, as I am about to go through the two most difficult months of each and every year, out of the blue—there in the grocery store—the familiar smell of Granddaddy’s aftershave filled my nostrils, and I once again was comforted.
Isn’t it funny how things like that seem to work? Just when we think we stand alone amidst our life’s burdens, our hearts slap us around a little bit and remind us of our blessings—like the blessing of memories, mementos, and smiles. Oh, and I passed that same gentleman three different times in the grocery store that day. Each time we passed, I would stop, close my eyes, and secretly inhale.

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Comments on: "Finding Comfort from Familiar Scents" (1)

  1. I’m completely moved by this story. I know I remember clearly how my grandma smelled, old and flowery.

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