18
August
2013

The Scent of Unconditional Love

Cinnamon Rolls After School

The Scent of Unconditional Love

School has started here in the Southwest.  Busses are plodding along full of children, parents are arranging their lives to accommodate school schedules, and teachers are facing a new year with this crop of kids and youth.

When I was young, still in elementary school, 11 perhaps, my maternal grandmother, Alice, came to live with us.  She had been widowed the year before, after 42 years as a farm wife in the countryside of North Dakota.  A woman of modesty and humor, she was married to the northern prairie and survived those years of plucking chickens, hot winds, feeding farm hands, growing most of the family’s food, and blizzards with grit and fortitude, as farming and ranching folks often do. 

After the farm sold at auction, she began a new chapter of her life.  Finally she was free to be her lively, travel-loving, urban self.  As a young woman she had traveled from North Dakota to exotic places like Lake Louise in British Columbia, and then worked far from home in Seattle.  She thrived in the energy of the city and only left when she was called home because of a dear cousin’s death. 

Marrying Adolph, the farmer who promised they’d move to town one day, she acclimated to life on the farm but never really liked it.  Like many women, she made the best of things and raised her children with love and attention -- and one eye on the horizon!

When she came to live with our family near Los Angeles, we just scooted over and made room, making her welcome.  She, in turn, looked for how to love us back.  And gosh, did she find ways!  One of them was baking.  You know where this is going.

Grandma Alice timed the cinnamon buns, the homemade dinner rolls and the cookies to be coming out of the oven as we were arriving home from school.  And then there was the bread, still warm, sliced and blanketed with butter.  We could smell the aroma from outside the house, dropping book bags at the door and running to the kitchen. 

Now, years later, I realize why I’m always drawn to bakeries and baked goods.  It’s not the sweets that draw me in, really.  It’s the unconditional love wafting on the aroma.  I don’t even have to buy anything.  The scent alone is enough to make me smile and say, “Thanks, Grandma!  I love you, too.”

So, friends, what aroma or scent reminds you of unconditional love?  Last night friends shared their versions:  the smell of rain, the smell of warm biscuits baked by a grandmother, a mother’s favorite blue soap.  And you? 

Categories: Deep Dish Categories, Deep Dish Archive, Authors, August

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