Tobacco, Candle + Coconut Oil = Lola
Last week, I went to the store and saw the store keeper segregating tobaccos in retail size packs, folding them neatly and putting them on display. Seeing that scene and the smell of tobacco reminded me of my 'La. And what a coincidence that the third edition of the SilverPrompt currently running is about scents memories!
'La (short for Lola) was how we used to call my granny, Mom's mother. She was one of our neighbors in my youth. Our house and hers were literally just about 20 meters apart and I had some fond memories of her and that include the scents I'm to share today.
'La grew a few stems of tobacco in her yard and two near our kitchen windows. She'd pick a few mature leaves of them, dry them out in the sun and stock them up for her later use. She smokes them in a beautiful pipe. She would go sit at the edge of her yard away from everyone else and spend many minutes silently enjoying her pipe. When she sees us getting closer while she's smoking, she'd yell in her not-so-loud voice telling us to go away.
I remember that months after 'La passed away, we still smell the scent of tobacco being burnt as if she was just around smoking her pipe. I think even Mom found it strange so she decided to get rid of the tobacco plants at La's yard and also those near our kitchen windows. The weird occurrences stopped.
Burning Candles and Melted Coconut Oil
These are two other scents that easily remind me of my granny. She was a Roman Catholic devotee and one of the church elders during her time. She had a small room in her house which she called "Kapilya" (tiny chapel) with a cute altar covered with white linens and filled with figurines and candles. Even the floor was shiny and clean so everyone must take off shoes or slippers before entering.
Everyday, she'd light candles placed on beautifully-carved candle holders and pray the rosary. When we were still kids, she would call us inside her Kapilya every Sunday at 3 in the afternoon to pray with her. After that, she'd teach us play the string instrument she had or massage each one of us using coconut oil which my siblings, I and my cousins always loved.
She always had a bottle of coconut oil which she orders from someone making them at home and the smell was quite pleasing to the nostrils. She'd scoop enough amounts of the hardened coconut oil, rub them repeatedly on her palms until they melt and then apply them all over the body of the one she's massaging. I remember people said 'La had a healing touch and other neighbors often came to her when they get sprained or hurt and she'd attend to them patiently.
It's been over 25 years since 'La was gone but it's always nice to get reminded of her from time to time.