Listening and Breathing from Cold Storage

My grandfather Pop... Old Spice aftershave and cigarettes, the striking of kitchen matches against the bottom of his shoe or the side seam of his jeans. Gas pilot lights. Campho-Phenique. Fresh dirt. Geranium leaves.

My grandmother Frannie... bacon, cabbage, old wood (piano? kitchen cabinets? dining table?). Her mother's house of cedar. Skin-So-Soft. The clink of the lid of a blue ceramic cookie jar kept on a child-high, open shelf. Helpless giggling.

Distant grandfather, Austin... soap, denture powder, starch; his son... beer, salt, shouting, guitar strumming, small crowds of musicians in the living room. Austin's wife... Coty face powder and worn shoes. "Hey, Good-Looking, whatcha got cookin'?" over and over. Dust.

My dad... the cold outdoors, livestock manure, Sea Breeze, snoring, Christmas crack-of-dawn "I'm up! Everybody else has to be up too!"

My mom... Humming. Harmonies. Exotic blend of perfume, smoke, Merle Norman cosmetics, Folger's, yeast breads. Paper (books? graded student work?). Roast beef cooking. Tide detergent. Lemon Pledge. Nylons swishing. The thump-click of a purse latch. A metallic undernote in her jewelry box.

Everywhere, always, music, laughter.


  1. Nice. I spent several Wonderful minutes my granparent's memories after reading this. Really marvelous

  2. I saw them. I smelled them. I knew them. Kelly girl, you've so got a book inside you, ready for the birthing.

  3. W. Somerset would be smiling. Would say thanks.

  4. Incredible. What a writer! But, we already knew that.
    Thank you for posting such a lovely piece.

  5. Blown. Away.

    Just beautiful.

  6. What ThomG said! Evocative writing at its finest.

  7. You all are too kind. Thank you.

  8. Kelly, your journalist eye and ear for detail as told with your poet voice....altogether beautiful.


  9. Thank you, Mom. You're a princess.