I used to have a Sunday School teacher that had no sense of smell. At first I thought it was really cool that someone could be born unable to smell; she never had to smell B.O. or garbage or the Great Salt Lake on a windy day. But as I thought about it more, I realized that she would never experience fresh mountain air or fireworks or perfume. She’d never smell fresh baked bread or cookies. And worst of all, it would take her a while to notice if she stepped in dog poop.
It’s funny how the mind can make life-long associations with scents. When I was little, my family ended up with a bad piece of beef. My mom cooked it, filling our house with the ghastly odor of fleshy rot. It was bad, and I mean bad! Following the creation of that tear-jerking aroma, my mom sprayed the house down with Glade Air Freshener in cinnamon. Ever since then, if I smell anything that remotely resembles that cinnamon air freshener, I immediately smell the beef, too.
Likewise, when I smell B&BW Warm Vanilla Sugar, I smell the dog poo that my sister tried to cover up with body spray on Thanksgiving several years ago.
When I smell witch hazel, I remember some of the more unfortunate aspects of child birth.
Not all of my scent associations are negative, though. I still swoon a little when I get a whiff of the cologne Scotty used to wear while we were dating (you know, before we got married, and he stopped trying to impress me). I remember my first pregnancy when I smell coconut, and I remember baby Nicky anytime I smell lavender since I used to lather him up in lavender baby lotion and inhale him like a scratch and sniff sticker.
The smell of coffee has always been enjoyable for me and reminds me of Barnes and Noble. I never say, “Oooo! I smell coffee!” I always say, “Ooooo! I smell Barnes and Noble.” Likewise, I often say, “Ooooo! Smells like vacation!” when I experience the scent of sunscreen.
When I clean my house, I occasionally use Harry Potter Pine Sol, which became such when I read Harry Potter following a thorough wipe down of all my home’s surfaces.
I think we often take such small blessings, like having a sense of smell, for granted. I’m very thankful to be able to experience fragrance, both good and bad, and to have such a refined sniffer as to be a memory keeper of sorts.