A string of beeps hits in succession as the yogurt, fruit and cereal hit the conveyor belt. I am half-paying attention to the prices on the screen as my eyes dart at the text message I just received. My daughter is asking questions about what we are going to do next. With the items in the brown paper bag, I put my purse back on my shoulder and pause. The cashier, a teen boy, with glasses and a gel infused part in his hair, says to me, “Miss, I say this with the utmost respect. That perfume you are wearing reminds me of my aunt. Every time I smell that scent, it gives me comfort.” Smiling, I thank him.
This conversation happened a few days ago, but its content lingered in my mind. I thought about the various ways we think of comfort and how various smells, sights and tastes can transport us to a memory or place of comfort. For me, the smell of fresh hot roti (an Indian bread) immediately makes me think of my mom and how often she cooked them when we were growing up. The visual of blue bonnets on a field makes me think about Texas and the spring we took pictures of our daughter playing. This evening I was transported to another place of true and genuine comfort.
Today (according to the Indian calendar) my father would have celebrated his seventy-seventh birthday. His favorite cake was German Chocolate. My sister, mom and I would sing Happy Birthday in our loud voices, while he prepared to take a bite of his cake. It was an annual ritual to gather around our dining table and take turns feeding the birthday “boy.” Today I was brought back to many celebrations. One of my very close friends, Kristie, surprised me by baking a German chocolate cake in honor of my father’s birthday month. The minute my eyes gazed at the cake I felt the comfort of those days in a small house in Texas.
Comfort. It comes from the most unexpected places.
A special thanks to my good friend Kristie for taking me back. Much love to you.
My daughter stood in my closet, held onto any article of my clothes hanging there with one hand and sucked her thumb with the other, each day when I was on a once in a lifetime 3 week trip to Southeast Asia.
“it smelled like you, Mommy,” she reported as she burrowed into me when I returned.
That’s still one of my sweetest memories of her early childhood.
Scents are so powerful.
Powerful too is the thoughtful, exactly right deeds of such friends as yours bringing the German Chocolate cake. How dear.
There are so many memories that are registered by our senses – I find sounds and smells to be particularly evocative.
I hope you find good moments in your memories, and that they take precedence over the sadness.
Smell is one of those senses that brings memories flooding back. And I can’t think of any better smell than a German Chocolate Cake. On his birthday, I hope your memories of your father are all sweet.
Your friend is very thoughtful.
I am happy that your friend took you back with this cake…so sweet of her. Smell and taste are so strong in our memories. I hope you find comfort and I hope he was watching from heaven while having his own cake. xoxo
That was really wonderful of your friend to bring you the cake. It also shows how well she knows you. Another beautiful piece, Rudri.
Your reflection on this delightful olfactory experience, especially as it relates to your family experiences, brings memories of my childhood — yes, many moons ago… I can remember hugging my mom as a little child and saying, “I love your smell, mommy. It is so homey.” My mother would laugh and say “Is that good?” I reassured her that it really was a compliment. It made me feel loved to be embraced in her warm and sweet scent of laundry detergent, cooking, baking — all couched in the comfort of her arms that encircled me.
Sweet thoughts . . . thank you for bringing them to mind today. Trish
So good to be able to recall happy memories when so many other things fade.
Cheese toast always gives me good memories.