The Gift Of Gratitude

Love Potion #66 Necklace

Love Potion #66 Necklace (Photo credit:

Twenty years ago I sat in the offices of my college newspaper and stared out the window behind my desk. It wasn’t a good time to get lost watching the girls walk, bike and skate by.

We were on deadline but my mind was in far away places that had nothing to do with newspapers, writers, editors and editing. Since I was already distracted it didn’t take much for another distraction to catch my eye.

I don’t remember what made me get up and walk out of the room but I remember why I stayed outside. She was my height, had long dark hair and was wearing some lotion from Victoria’s Secret that worked like Love Potion No. 9 on me.

All of my deadlines and work responsibilities were forgotten. All I wanted to do was bury my face in her neck. It took a lot of restraint not to, but I didn’t. In my experience women aren’t especially fond of strange men touching them, at least not without an invitation.

Fortunately she was standing with a friend of mine who introduced me as “Jack, her slackjawed friend.” In other circumstances I might have had a smart comeback to that but all I managed to do was mutter something like “you sure smell pretty.”

If it was a movie Cary Grant, Bogart or whomever was playing the cool lead man would have slapped me silly for being so…uncool. Remember, this was in the time when being a nerd was less cool than it is now.

When I regained my composure I apologized for staring and told her why I was staring. She smiled at me and said that if I wanted to smell her I could. Decades later I wonder how I didn’t crack up then, but I simply nodded my head and walked over to her.

“I am going to hug you for a moment.”

She smiled at me and when we embraced I felt her hug me back. I am guessing that she broke away before I did, but I really don’t remember. What I can tell you is that I said thank you and that I was grateful.

Instead of walking away she wrapped her arms around me again and gave me the kind of hug that made me think interesting thoughts- but we’ll save those for a different time.

That is because I want to focus on gratitude.


The reason I shared that story with you is because earlier today I heard a set of songs that I associate with that time and I caught  a whiff of a scent that was very similar to hers.

I don’t know about you but I am amazed by how certain smells are memory triggers. When I came across it today I couldn’t help but think of her and that moment. It made me smile on a day that was had some significant rough spots.

And for that I am grateful.

I am grateful for the members of this community who responded to my request to help me figure out what was going on with the commenting system here.

I am grateful for my family and my friends.

I am grateful that at 43 my body still allows me to push it to do things that others can’t.

I am grateful for my blog and the opportunity to do more than dream about becoming a writer.

I am grateful for new friends who aren’t aware of how much their support has meant.

I am grateful for good food, good books and good movies.

A Moment of Music

Some of you will want to know what songs sent me down this path so I am happy to share some of them.

Gratitude is a gift and I am grateful to have been given it.

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  1. KDillabough August 3, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Wet grass. Damp leaves. Chantilly perfume. Movie popcorn. Lilacs. Brut cologne. Play doh. Double bubble bubblegum. These are all remembered scents that take me back in time. And like JudyDunn said, scent is a powerful reminder.I’m grateful for our friendship. Cheers! Kaarina

  2. TheJackB August 2, 2012 at 9:32 am

    JoeDeGiorgio Joe, you just made my mouth start watering.  That is the kind of memory I go to when I am having a hard day or sometimes I do it when I am trying to solve a puzzle.Glad that it made you feel good. You know that I appreciate people who have that connection and love for grandparents.

  3. rdopping August 2, 2012 at 2:27 am

    I smell a rat. Wait, that’s something completely different altogether. Hmmmm…..Scent (perfumes) is a powerful thing for me. So powerful that it takes over my body at times leaving me with a searing headache, nausea and out of breath. Weird but it does. The smell of food though is something that draws me in like none other. Maybe that’s why I love to eat so damn much. Then there is the smell of a beautiful wine; the complexities are amazing. It’s so much fun to try to figure out the aromas in the body of the wine. And don’t get me started on scotch. Just a sniff of a Speyside is enough to get me charged up.I am grateful for those things inanimate as they are. I am grateful for my life.

    • TheJackB August 2, 2012 at 11:37 am

      rdopping I have some other friends who say that perfume does the same thing to them. They tell me that perfume just hits them like a hammer.I am with you regarding the smell of food. That is part of the experience. It helps build anticipation and makes the moment so enjoyable.

  4. TheJackB August 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    timbo1973 Hi Tim,Agreed. Gratitude goes a long way to helping us be more appreciative of all that way have. It is wonderful.

  5. Craig McBreen August 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I’ve had the same experience, usually while walking through the mall with my wife … the smell comes wafting over as we pass the perfume isle and it catches you completely off guard. Ah, memories 😉 Seriously, it usually gives me an instand headache.Sweet Child o’ Mine does bring back some memories though.I actually like the smell of cigarettes and gasoline. Not sure what that means … 😉

  6. PASmithjr August 1, 2012 at 10:57 am

    @janetcallaway The Gift Of Gratitude via @TheJackB Thanks Janet. Whats up Jack ? love this, man.

  7. JudyDunn August 1, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Nice piece, my friend. Did you know that of the five senses, the sense of smell is most strongly connected with our memory and that people can usually remember farther back in their lives when smell is connected to an event? As a first grade teacher who taught kids to read, I often wished that instead of alphabet cards and print readers, we had the scratch and sniff method of phonics. The stickers would be for vowels, consonants and combinations of letters that made sounds, progressing all the way to whole words. But then I thought, “What if some poor kid has a cold? Smell is one of the first things to go.”  LOL. 

    • TheJackB August 2, 2012 at 7:57 am

      JudyDunn Hi Judy,I don’t know if I knew that or not but I am not surprised to hear it. Smells always take me back to places I have been. It is part of how I know I am home.I like your idea for teaching children by using scents. That is a very cool idea. It has potential, now the question is how do we make it happen.

  8. Jens August 1, 2012 at 5:57 am

    There are so many things to be greatful about, and we should all make lists like yours. When we don’t think about what we’re greatful about we tend to forget, at least I do. Usually, we (Norwegians) complain about the weather, about the taxes, about our jobs, about close to everything, but at the same time we live in one of the best countries in the world. 

    • TheJackB August 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Jens I really have to get to Norway to visit. . If we conducted a survey I bet that many of us would complain about many of the same things with the same frequency as people in Norway.

  9. bdorman264 August 1, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Ah yes, the power of ‘smell.’ Down south we call what she was wearing as ‘come hither’………..:). I am very ‘smell’ oriented; it can make an average person much more appealing and yes, there are times smells trigger those memories. Good thoughts indeed…….Except smelling diesel because that reminds me of the Army………..doh……………

  10. CrossBetsy August 1, 2012 at 4:32 am

    So true. The “universe” provides little things to lift and nourish just when we need it. I’m reminded to make memories with the people I love that will sustain me later in life…or tomorrow, whichever comes first.

  11. Hajra August 1, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Being grateful always make one humble and makes us appreciate the things that are around us and make us who we are. 

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