Thankful for Old Spice this Thanksgiving

Last week my dear wife, Danny, tagged me on a social media site with a picture of an original bottle of Old Spice Cologne. The caption on the photograph was “who can smell this now?”
Well, I certainly could. Literally I could, and wrote back as a comment, “Anyone in our bathroom can pop the top and take a whiff of an orignal bottle from 1973. Holds its scent real good in the bottle and on the cheeks,” jokingly. But it’s not really a joke.  My mom, Rachel, commented, “I sure can remember, can close my eyes and smell my daddy.”
The truth is that there really is an “old” bottle of Old Spice on our bathroom shelf in Sebastopol. It is the last bottle of Old Spice my grandfather, mom’s daddy, Herbie Hudson, ever owned. He died following an automobile accident at the intersection of Hwy. 35 and Hwy. 80 here in Forest in 1973. He was 62 years old.
The bottle of Old Spice remained in the medicine cabinet in our bathroom well after my grandfather died, and after his wife, my grandmother, Delia Mae died 23 years later in 1996. My grandparent’s house, which orignally belonged to my great-grandfather, “Daddy Jim” Hudson, then sat vacant a  year or so and that bottle of cologne and a tube of Granny’s VO5 Hairdressing lay side by side in the dark. Granny and Granddaddy were together in Heaven, and in the medicine cabinet, I suppose you could say.
It was Thanksgiving 1997,  I think, when my family started gathering on the holiday weekend at that old house for our family celebration. The roof leaked a little and the floors creaked but I can assure you a wonderful time was had by all — with the exception, that is, of a couple of beaus belonging to a couple of our nieces. At some point during those gatherings, without fail, someone — usually my  brother Richard — would pop open the Old Spice and splash on a little. Rather than a genie, we could let Grandaddy out of the bottle for a little while.
Over the coming years Danny and I would do a little repairing and replacing, painting and sprucing up, here and there to the house, and me and my parents mowed a whole lot of grass. The Folks did a good bit of gardening there as well.
Then came August of 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. Trees came down, the back porch was torn off and there was just a big mess everywhere. The Old Spice, though, was still safe and sound in the medicine cabinet. Soon the roof began leaking more and the upkeep became harder and harder and our daughter, Rachel-Johanna, became a teenager. Teenagers, reared in the city, don’t care a lot for old houses in the country, it seemed.
In 2010 Rachel-Johanna began her senior year in high school and for some reason she and her friends decided the country wasn’t so bad after all. We started cleaning the old place up again and patching some more in preparation for a Senior Party.
Conditions went from fair, to middling, to not so bad whatsoever. Danny and I started hanging out up there again and soon found ourselves living there as well. That’s when we painted the bathroom and put down new tile and cleaned out that medicine cabinet once again.
The V05 had dried up and the tube was tossed, but that Old Spice, it was still just as good as new, and found a home on top of the mustard yellow, free standing, antique water heater that we still use today. Every now and then someone would come out of the bathroom and a fog of Old Spice would follow. Still do!
Last year my mom deeded the place over to Danny and me and we began real renovations that are ongoing today. We’re saving flooring for last but have pretty much finished the  kitchen, living room, hall, and dining room and we plan to put a fresh coat of paint on that bathroom this week.
The Old Spice is now sitting on top of the towel shelf just waiting for the next encounter with a curious human. I took a whiff last weekend. It’s still strong and fresh. Much like that VO5, a little dab will do you.
Unlike my mom and several other folks that commented last week about that picture Danny posted on Facebook, the Old Spice doesn’t remind me of any one person in particular. Sure it reminds me of my grandfather because it was his when he was taken from us.
More importantly, though, it reminds me of all the wonderful times we’ve had in the place we now call Delialand — the place we now call home — and the wonderful times yet to come.
So, my friends, this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for Old Spice among all the traditional things. I think you can understand why, and I hope that you, too, have something that simple that will bring a smile to your face this holiday season.


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