Cedar and Mothballs

by Marady Owens
(Barrie, Ontario, Canada)

The memories that smells can evoke never cease to amaze me. I was not yet four years old when my Nana passed away, yet whenever I smell the unmistakable scents of cedar or mothballs, memories of long-ago visits to her cottage come flooding back to me in sharp detail.

Stopping to sniff a package of mothballs in a store, I am transported back to the earliest years of my life, sitting on the living room rug of Nana's cottage, playing with a plush toy car that she made with her own hands. I remember her warning me that I would catch a cold if I sat on the floor. She'd insist upon me sitting on her couch, in front of her television set.

Whenever I pass a cedar, I stop and breathe in its rich smell. I remember the cedars surrounding her cottage and garden shed. The toy stove in the shed, with its little dishes. I remember a particular wooden bowl, and a saltshaker. I would pick the cedar's unusual leaves, shred them up, and put them in the saltshaker for seasoning imaginary food.

I have many things to remember my Nana by. The dress-up clothes and doll furniture she made, her old button collection, and photos. But nothing brings back memories of my Nana and the coziness of her cottage like the smells of cedar and mothballs.

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