Her Unique Smell
I remember her smell. There was no other like it. It was unique. It was hers alone. And it remains in my memory even now, so many years later. The slightest thing can trigger her scent and all the things I remember about her.
There is no way to describe her smell. It wasn't good or bad in that sense. She never wore perfume. She couldn't afford it. She scraped her cents together to try and provide for her child because no one else was there. She was mother and father, teacher and playmate. She had a rough life; but she never complained about that. There were things she did complain about at times. But she never regretted the child she bore although that was unplanned at the time; and she never regretted the love she knew with the father or of marrying him although he had left them alone. How scared she must have been, a naive farm girl with no education or training, nothing to help her to support her child! But she accepted the responsibility and put everything into raising that child the best she could.
I've often wondered how she did it. I've seen her work as hard as a huge, burly man just to survive although she was such a tiny woman, five foot one inch in height and weighing out at one hundred pounds. I've seen her carry huge loads, her size, weight and more. She had never owned an automobile, never even driven one. She walked everywhere except when she would hire someone to take her to town because there were no stores, doctors, or much of anything else in the barren Appalachian mountains she survived in. She had no indoor plumbing or water. For many years she had no electricity or telephone. She got up in the middle of the night and heated rocks in the open fireplace and placed them to her child's freezing feet, then crawled into bed with her, desperately trying to wrap her own body around her as best she could to keep her from freezing enough to get sick. It seldom worked. It seemed the child was always sick.
She was truly a rare human being, as rare as her distinct smell. It was not a sweet smell but neither was it sour. It was quite pleasant, not quite like a flower; but kind to the nose. It was her! And how I loved her! And she loved me just as much. Sometimes, I dream of her smell and feel that she is still here although she has been gone from this world now for eight years and those memories were years before that. I still remember sitting on Mother's lap as she sang to me and her unique smell for I knew there would never be a safer place in this world for me. And I was right.