Have you ever had something small and insignificant trigger a memory?
A memory so powerful that it takes you away from what’s going on around you? Does it immerse in the past, causing you to smile in fondness or frown in frustration?
Regardless of your reaction, good or bad, it takes you back to something important. This just happened recently when I entered a candle shop. I wandered the store, looking at all the items for sale, sniffing in the array of scents. It was when I took the lid off a candle that I smelled a garden. but not just any garden- it was my grandmother’s garden.
The memories came rushing back, and I can remember long weekend days spent with my family done at my grandmother’s. She lived on Lake Ontario along the shoreline with a huge yard covered with planting beds. She was always out working in her planting beds and more times than not I would be with her. Raking away the leaves in early spring to unearth the lily of the valley coming up, watching for the crocus and Iris peeking out and stealing the daffodils to present to my grandmother with pride. She never scolding me for picking her flowers, and a vase full could always be found on the kitchen table. Other memories rush back; being chased by a mean old rooster called Sam, playing with it friendly boxer named Lucky and a territorial Terrier named Snoopy. My grandfather would always be there puffing out his pipe sitting on a lounge chair watching us work.
When it got too hot, we’d all sit underneath the willow tree where the shade cooled us and created a somewhat secretive hideaway. The trees long flowing branches would hide us kids from view of the parents, and there was always cool drinks and snacks to share. But what triggered my memory the most is something I will always remember about the flower gardens. My grandmother’s lilacs. A huge hedge of lilacs it ran the property line, probably all of nine feet tall, but to a young girl they felt like a wall. We could pick as many as we want while they bloomed and there was always a bouquet to take home when we left for the day.
To this day, the smell of a lilac is my favorite Northern flower. And you know it’s funny, once that single memory returned, many more came flowing back. I was lucky to have such a great childhood where family was important; it was mandatory to play outside, do your share of the work and most of all to respect your elders and love your family.