I’m big on birthdays. I just love them. And not just those of my kids where hundreds of dollars evaporate from my wallet even before I enter Party City. I also love my birthday where I turn my family into my own personal slaves forced to do my bidding for the day. I’m big on birthdays of famous people (Jane Goodall, April 3rd) (and a Happy birthday to Bernie Sanders on September 8th) and I’m big on birthdays of people that I love that are no longer around.
This week on August 31st, my grandmother, Opal, would have been 115. She died when she was 86 and I miss her very much. She was a no bullshit Southern lady who used her Fry Daddy like a samurai warrior and whose delicious cornbread I have never, ever been able to recreate. So on the morning of August 31st, I looked into the sky and said “Happy Birthday, Opal”. Then, since I have one of her chairs in my apartment in Los Angeles I sat in it, sipped my coffee and thought about her.
Now let me back up a second.
The hardest part of my Hollywood adventure has been when my husband and children are in Sebastopol and I’m in Hollywood alone. This last week was one of those weeks. I’m usually fine at work, but after work I miss them very much. So on this particular evening — the evening of Opal’s birthday, I was walking to Barnes and Noble and missing my family and feeling completely alone. I fished around in my purse to get something and suddenly I smelled a huge whiff of Estee Lauder perfume — the same kind of perfume Opal used her entire life. I thought, Wow, how funny, somebody’s wearing Opal’s perfume on her birthday and I looked up to see who it was and —
— there was NO ONE THERE.
I was completely alone on the sidewalk. I stopped walking. I just stood there for a moment, stunned. You know, it’s not like Estee Lauder perfume is carried in on Trade Winds. It was just sooooooo weird. The kind of weird you just can’t shrug off.
So I just smiled and said to thin air, (very much like a crazy person) “Hi, Opal.”
And suddenly, I didn’t feel lonely anymore because I knew I wasn’t alone.
Which leaves me with a final thought for you —
If you think it might be nice to contact a loved one after you die, you should really think about how you smell while you’re alive. I mean, seriously, how else are they going to know you’re there?
So what will it be? Roses or beer nuts? Tacos? An old dog blanket? Patchouli? A bar of new soap?
Think carefully about how you smell because it’s how you’re going to smell…. FOREVER!!!!!!