Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stinking to high heaven: Sorry dad.

In the 60s and 70s I think every teenager went through a phase where they were into burning incense or scented candles.

Sometimes the point of these were to disguise other, um, shall we say “troublesome” odors?

For me, I just liked them. I wasn’t trying to cover up other smoky smells.

My favorite scent was sandalwood. I made frequent trips to the Hallmark store to purchase the largest orange sandalwood candle they had. One nearly new candle bit the dust.

The college I went to grew up around an old Army hospital. Some of the original buildings were still in use as dorms and heated with steam. Over one Christmas break, for reasons still unclear, the maintenance department went into our vacant rooms and opened the radiators full blast.

Returning from vacation, when we opened our doors our rooms were bursting with heat! It took hours with the windows open to cool everything down.

In addition to warping a few of my vinyl albums, a sandalwood candle I had sitting on a shelf completely melted away. Since the shelf was a hunk of unfinished wood, the wax simply absorbed into it!

C’est la vie.

I also liked those little black cones of pine incense, especially around Christmas.

My dad, on the other hand, had a much different attitude about these and other artificially scented things. He hated those “smelly candles” and you didn’t even want to get him started on incense.

I never really understood his objections. I mean, how could you not enjoy the lovely scent of sandalwood wafting through the house?

He didn’t. At all.

In recent years, something has happened to my olfactory system.

As a result I’m realizing what my dad was objecting to. And now I feel a little bad I wasn’t more sensitive to his nasal sensitivities.

My wonderful wife loves scented candles. She’d have them burning all the time if she had her way. But not me. Not anymore.

Maybe it’s years of sinus infections or who knows what, but now, I’m just like my dad when it comes to those smelly candles.

We’ve experimented with various scents, all to no avail and to my wife’s grave disappointment. Just going into a candle shop is a challenge for me.

In fact, walking past a perfume counter in a store can send my head reeling. Dad had the same problem!

Strong smells do me in. When she needs to do her nails, my wife, lovingly, goes upstairs to our bedroom, closes the door and opens the window, even when it’s cold outside. I love her for that.

Oddly, her sense of smell is somewhat lacking. As a result, our opinions on how strong something smells will vary, to say the least. Like when she decides to roast garlic in the oven. Oy!

But we work through it. Sometimes I just have to endure. Still, she is more sensitive to me than I was to my dad.

Sorry, dad. Really. I get it now.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some candles to blow out.



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What do you think the moral of this story might be? Or is there one? Any spiritual application(s) you can think of? What memories do you have of your mom or dad? Share in the comments!

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