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Arian Knops

Memories

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March 15, 2021

I’m always on the lookout for something pleasurable to write about. A person’s good memories are one of those things.

With Covid-19 still around I thought this story should be for the people who have recovered from the disease but still have some lingering aftereffects. One of those aftereffects, I’ve read, is the loss of a person’s sense of smell. I mourn for the people affected by this particular aftereffect. 

Smells and their effects on a person came to mind while I was cooking. I thought of good smells like freshly mown hay or grass while it’s still moist. I also thought about the unintended bad smells that linger on after a task is done. An example of that would be the scent of the air on a hot, still, August day immediately after the farm neighbor across the river has spread manure. Not good.

But I think I should focus on the good, it’s much more pleasant. There are so many good smells: the interior of a brand-new car, new leather coats hanging on a rack for sale, the wafting of a breeze bringing the scent of flowers along a sidewalk as a person ambles by and that of the air after a spring shower, a smell of rebirth and renewal.

My mind wanders back to my early days on this planet when my mother’s hugs were the heavenly fragrance of safety. Mom’s freshly washed dress that had been cleaned by homemade soap made only of used grease and lye gave me the feeling of not only what cleanliness smelled like, but also what it felt like. Some seventy years later just thinking of that time gives me a feeling of peace and memories of a hug from a woman gone so long from this life that few remember her. But I still do. I like that.

I think of the gentle scent of my wife as I hug her. There must be a unique aroma that binds a man and a woman, a pervasive invisible magnet between them that makes them one. That makes them whole. It makes me whole.

Where my heart truly goes out to people who have lost or will lose their sense of smell is that they will be missing out on those wonderful smells slipping out of the kitchen as someone, through a labor of love, puts together a meal.

Breakfast frying on the stove is often the originator of a house full of pleasant scents as a person rises from their slumber. The sound of bacon sizzling in a pan can make a person salivate well before they ever get near the kitchen as the smell of applewood or maple used in the curing tinges the scent and adds to the concert of a morning meal.  Add in the crisp smell of toast slathered with butter and coffee brewing and all a person needs are a knife and a fork.  

Nearly everyone I know understands how much I love to cook and bake. I’ll give you just a few of my favorite smells that are a result of my efforts at cooking. Onions and pepper’s sauteing for the preparation of something Italian is one of those aromas that can even extend to the arousing of the resident cat or dog even though those animals should have neither. The cooking of anything can arouse the curiosity of nearly any dog, but cats are more finicky. Once all the ingredients for a pan of lasagna are put together and the flavors and smell have melded under the heat of an oven little can done to slow the warmth of the filling meal that will be the result of the cook’s effort.  The dog or cat can always have at least a taste.

The aroma of homemade cookies filling the house with their beautiful scents on a cold winter day can wrap the entire house into a blanket of love. Flour, sugar, yeast, water and a bit of salt combined to make a dough, then baking in the oven has a life all its own. There is nothing on this planet that quite matches the smell of bread freshly removed from the oven just awaiting the chance to be covered with butter or jam and fill an awaiting stomach. Freshly baked homemade cinnamon rolls are a blanket from heaven and deserve their own story.

I think these scents, these aromas, were given to us by God so we could appreciate the bounty of the Universe.  And now. Because of a creature so small it can’t be seen, many people will be denied the beauty of a part of that Universe.


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Arian Knops

Arian is a short story contributor to the Sentinel & Rural News. Arian has written two full-length thrillers which have received critical and popular acclaim. Arian lives in Bruce, WI, with his charming wife, Arlene.

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