Linnea's Lights Blog Contest Entry by Kate Collins

Guest Post by Kate Collins
for Linnea's Lights Blog Contest

The most haunting, endearing remnants of childhood are the fragrances imprinted permanently upon our brains, called up again and again, floods of memories, at every familiar whiff.

Suddenly I'm 4 again, peering up at my mother as she brews fresh coffee in a pyrex percolator on the stovetop, cinnamon coffeecake in the oven. After-work hugs from my steelworker father, faint scent of oil on his hands. I'm 6, watching grandpa change a tire on a hot summer day, machine shed air of diesel, gasoline.

Humid August, heavy with the musty breath of cornfields. Searching for newly-laid eggs in sweet straw beds under placid hens. Running barefoot in freshly tilled garden, rich black Illinois soil, popping sun-warmed raspberries into mouths with berry-stained hands.

Climbing trees, smells of leaves and bark, playing endless hours on carpets of freshly-mown grass with apple-blossom breezes, then, worn-out, coming in to dinner prepared lovingly by grandma, aromas of the old country.

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Autumn brought dusty harvest and burning leaves, evening bonfires and roasting, toasting, burnt marshmallows. Long midwest winters, oh-so-cozy with Christmas pine and daily sweets as icy gales beckoned, "come play in the snow!" And now, creating happy, fragrant memories for my own children, I light a Holiday candle as sleet begins to pelt the windows, and put on a pot of coffee.