the smell of love


I put a load of laundry in the washer

No ordinary load

of jeans and shirts and socks soon to be lost

There were towels

all of them from home

the home before this one

That place where I grew up

They were hers

Silly how the towels are like old friends to me,

isn’t it?

I know their stories and how they came to be hers

The green one, that chartreuse one,

the shade she could hardly bear,

came from her Aunt who shared my taste in color

Mama always set it out for me to use

when I was there


with the pipes squawking in protest

and the water pressure a fair weather friend at times

The blue one, a lovely shade of nearly denim,

she got for herself when she decided to go with blue

in her own small bathroom

The fluffy white floor mat

I love the feel of it

I don’t know where it will go in my home

I only know

it must

Ahh, the handtowels…..

not sure how we got started on those

but there they are

so many now

for all the seasons and in so many colors

We gave her many of them

at different times

just because

Christmas, winter, spring, Easter, summer, 4th of July,

fall, Harvest, pumpkins, Thanksgiving–

all fingertip towel sized

She liked that size for the little hands

she was so happy to help wash

as the little feet stood on the stool their Cap had made

to give them a leg up in life

The little hands she was so thrilled to hold

to help turn pages

to show how to hold a pencil, scissors, a spoon, and a knife

(though I wasn’t supposed to know about that last one)

As I dropped them gently into the washer

one fell to the floor

I bent over and picked it up

and I held it to my face for a moment

The tears were instant

That smell, the smell of home,

took me off guard

That smell that will always be home,

be her

I wish I could tuck it in a drawer and

keep it forever

a smell that could never be used up

that could always bring back the feelings that come

when I remember





the towels have been washed and dried now

they will be loved in a new way in my own home

and the old smell has likely already faded

I fold them

just like she taught me

standing by that table in our dining room/den

folding and putting them away

so we could sit down and eat

the supper she had cooked

and set on the table


the smell of love


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