Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Aroma of the Holidays

For me the smells of Christmas are as important as the people and the gifts. When the tree is in the house the scent is pine. It's subtle but it's there, especially when you come in from out of doors. Then there is the baking: rosettes fried in oil and dusted with powdered sugar, sugar cookies baking in the oven and the smell of lefse when you first open the package.

And of course you can't forget the smell of Thanksgiving. Those aromas start the night before with the browning of the onions and sausage. And Grandma Coakley's sweet potatoes have a heavenly scent. Three ingredients: sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter. Her cooking was simple but delicious.

This year, however, I won't be able to smell these things, because last spring I lost my sense of smell. I had a bad cold that lasted forever. At some point I realized that I wasn't smelling things. I put my sniffer to the ultimate test and opened a bottle of nail polish remover. I couldn't smell a thing. For all I knew it could have been a chardonnay.

Now there are some upsides to this condition. I can't tell when the litter box needs emptying nor can I smell dead skunks on the road. The flip side is that I can't smell leaking gas or gasoline or smoke.

I thought about inquiring about a handicapped parking place but soon realized that my hampered sniffer didn't keep me from getting in and out of the car.

Food has lost some of its appeal. Taste comes from a combination of your taste buds and your sense of smell. Sometimes I forget and try to inhale the aroma of a wonderful zinfandel. That's a bummer. Doctor says it may or may not come back. I don't think about it much until someone around me says, "doesn't that smell good". Then I know I'm missing something. But in the grand scheme of things, a malfunctioning sniffer is not a big deal. Luckily I live with a wonderful man whose sniffer works just fine.

So don't take yours for granted. Spend a few more bucks and buy it the soft tissue.

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