July 5, 2012: Scent of an Old Man
Those accustomed to modern fragrances might wrinkle their noses when sniffing a vintage classic like Arpege, Chantilly, or Fracas, and remark something like, “Reminds me of my grandmother,” or “This smells like Old Lady,” as if this were a bad thing, not realizing what a stunner their grandmother may have been.
Well, Dad’s shirt smells of rosewater and musk and maybe a touch of sandalwood. His scent lingers on the red flannel shirt he was wearing when he died. I press it to my face and think if only I could bottle this essence of old man, the tired out, frazzled and disenchanted would flock to buy it because it would fill them with a zen like sense of peace. The aura of a soul who has been on the earth, transcontinentally, for nearly a century, fled the Japanese as a young man, escaped the grip of communism, married a woman from the other side of the globe, and made a life. A man who can say please and thank you for a spoonful of ice chips up to the final moments of his physical existence. Now that’s something.