Friday, May 11, 2007


For most of my life I have had a secret little affair with a certain aromatic effervescence. I can’t help it. Some people feel a rush when they walk in the rain, or take a shower or kneel in a garden. Some on a playing field, in the wilderness or on the water. Others bury their faces in sweet, fresh blooms or live for the aroma of chocolate or vanilla. Yet, more people feel a weakness for a puppy’s soft coat or a baby’s sweet breath. For me, many things make my knees buckle; the sound of children at play, watching doting fathers and military funerals. But my most guarded felicity? The fragrance of raw potatoes.

That’s right, potatoes. I have found myself feeling secure and loved while peeling potatoes. When potatoes are boiling, the steam clears my senses and washes me in peaceful resignation. When I was younger, though not much younger, I enjoyed eating raw potatoes, peeled and cut up into wedges just like an apple. I couldn’t eat a lot of the crunchy root, but it would make a reasonable snack.

So what on earth could endear a guy to the pungent, lingering smell of a raw potato?

I remember when I was a kid, curling up on my Mother’s lap while she sat in a rocking chair in our home in Lansing, MI. I had been in some trouble, maybe at school, maybe at the park, but I had clearly been in some trouble. Unlike sometimes when I had done something I would later regret, I was not in fear and I was not being punished. Instead, my Mom was gently asking me why I would do what it was that I did. I remember a certain softness, a gentle shushing, a warm, soft embrace. I remember being wrapped in a safe warmth. I remember a calm…so profound that it has lingered in my memory almost uninterrupted for all these years. It’s incredible how some memories are stamped into your conscious and subconscious at the same time. I think we’ve all had those moments in time, throughout our lives, which may or may not have been life altering events when they occurred. Some happenings are obviously indelible; the loss of someone we love, a traumatic event…All physically or mentally sufficiently painful as to ingrain itself into our psyche. Happiness also: A monumentally joyous event such as the arrival of a child. And these moments remain. We live and relive the experience, and welcome the memories…good or bad. Well, this was one of those moments in time that I would never forget.

I’ve always felt a deep attachment to my Mother, as probably most of us have. There isn’t a day in my life that she doesn’t bring a smile to my face. Although miles away and days apart, always a presence within reach. I thank God every day for her. I picture her smile, her melancholy, her sadness, her happiness every night before sleep, as I recite my prayers. As I fall asleep tonight, I’ll be rocking in my Mother’s arms. When I slip away into my final nap, she’ll be comforting me with her peacefulness until I’ve surrendered all, and then some.

Mothers Day is not a day I lay aside in my mind to personally reminisce about her. I have that every day. It is, however, just as good excuse as any to make it a point to visit with her, along with any of her other children who may be fortunate enough to participate in the day at such a personal level. She doesn’t know it, but she supplies the air I breathe every day. I wish I knew how to be as poetic when we’re discussing the remnants of the day or just delighting about the sunshine.

To stray a bit, my children are most fortunate to have the Mother they have. She is the closest thing I know of to her children, as mine was to me. My children have been blessed indeed. My daughter is a very special and wonderful Mother. My sisters are extremely good Mothers. My nieces are also wonderful Mothers. Proof, I guess, that not only genetics, but good, loving nurturing and exposure is contagious.

Oh, I almost forgot! What is it about potatoes? I come from a family of two wonderful parents. Yes my Dad is another story of another legend, and they brought seven children into the world. The Lord blessed us kids with love for each other and my parents nurtured that. While growing up, whenever I was physically very close to my Mom, I smelled potatoes. She was a Mom who cooked dinner every night for all nine of us and you see, potatoes were paramount to making a meal hardy, filling and healthy. Seemed like she was forever peeling potatoes and her hands were permeated with the sweetness of them.

On that note, I wish to all who read this, a


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