Over the years, compliments and advertisers have promoted the gold star standard of what we need to look for when something is good, especially if “you can’t beat it.” I have a recipe I call Better than Sex Pound Cake, which gets that same message across even if the name sent disgust through my ex-husband, he still inhaled the decadent dessert. Regardless, the one beat we all can dance to, is the satisfaction in our soul when we find a single element, which shakes up our senses completing us – regardless if we see it, smell it, taste it or feel it.
When my daughters were young, I needed to leave for work before they got up for school, as a single parent, it sucked but they rocked it for me. Years later, I discovered my leaving for work in the morning had three unique sensations of satisfaction they explained. One couldn’t forget the kiss I left on her cheek before she woke up. A peaceful gift in a slight smudge of Hollywood pink lipstick, which was a hug waiting for her when she got up. Another kept the scent of Channel #5, my signature since I was seven years-old (thanks Dad!), and the last loved the sound of my high heels across the kitchen floor, echoing up into her bedroom before I left. Each memory so different, but from their childhood space they could not be beat, because they knew they were trusted, cared for and loved.
I have always been partial to Brut aftershave and German Chocolate cake myself. There are so many others, but those two hit my heart with arrow precision like a William, telling me love is right where I left it. My father wore Brut when he was either fresh from a hot bath, or going somewhere special smiling ear to ear. When he passed, I made sure there was a little splashed on during his viewing as well; he was after all going to the best place of all. And as for the cake? Well, aside from just being cake – the manna from my own personal heaven, it was the personal touch of love grandma always had waiting when we arrived in Lincoln, for our summer week in Nebraska. I never knew her well because of the distance from Colorado but that cake, which I would find waiting on the downstairs washer for our arrival, was wonderful and the taste could not be beat!
As I aged, I found other triggers which time passage me back to where I have been, and where happiness lived. Some more odd than others like bus exhaust, which takes me back to police conventions across the country with my parents, a world away from home, and a window where I watched a temporary world pass by, and always music, which has more than anything else sound tracked my existence.
Recently, my oldest daughter expressed a craving for my mother’s pickled eggs, which were a loved family treasure, one she had never liked, until the age three, when she found the last one I had hidden away. I had watched in selfish horror, as she ate it saying, I DO like purple eggs! Now that her grandmother is gone, they are more than just tasty; they are eggs that can’t be beat, and no longer whipped up for holiday meals and fought over. After making them, she told me how it dawned on her that one grandma had the beets and eggs, and the other had red beet salad; both were a communion for her soul and heart. A simple vegetable, but yet so much more, channeling all the goodness of these two women, and in more ways than one, nourished her young life. How proud those two grandmothers would be to see her now, a successful strong woman, accomplished and soon to have her master’s degree making a difference in so many lives as a nurse.
We all know the meaning and spiritual implications behind the last supper, with bread rising past the simple value of nourishment, into a life-giving source from a higher being. However, since we are mere mortals unable to attain such a union, isn’t is a blessing when we can experience something almost as vital with those we love, from a simple inanimate connection, which will forever recharge our mind, body and soul.
It is unfortunate when we find ourselves on the beaten path of life rushed, unable to realize these small gifts until it is too late, and we suddenly need to grasp them tightly in bleak afterthoughts, wishing for one more conversation, touch, laugh or moment, hoping in vain something was left for us. I know as I celebrate my days, this is a regret I personally will never have, and I am thankful.
When school starts each year, and I walk down the store aisles, I find the new crayon smell waiting, and instantly see my daughters running home, with endless art projects, and now those my grand children are just now learning to make. The click of ice in a cool glass of tea, finds my father only a glace away in my heart, sitting in his worn chair, and Aqua Net hair spray brings my mother from a room where she no longer lives, smiling as a reminder she always believed in me, and I should as well. These are the priceless moments of life which freely change us forever, keeping us grounded when times are rough, and we do not think we can make one more day.
Some of the best gifts are sent by love in this road rage crazed going postal world we live in. They are given freely through scent and nourishment, to souls starving in the absence of those that have gone, struggling to figure out who they are, and they are always right where we last saw them. We just need to make the time to take a deep breath, and look again.
http://www.glintinthedark.com/ Please look for my new novel the end of this month – a serial killing behind the rock and roll of a beating heart.