Last week, I knocked a bottle of my hubby’s Acqua di Gio aftershave off the shelf. It landed on the hard surface of our bathroom scale and broke into pieces. Naturally, my first thought was, “How do I save the fluid so it does not go to waste.” I imagined the bathroom would smell quite nice for a long time to come, but I did not want to throw all the contents in the garbage. I carefully removed the glass, still considering a method of mopping the liquid up with towels that I could preserve and put in every room. It would then seem as if my hubby was present where ever I went in the house. My daughters once took comfort in driving their daddy’s car because it smelled like him, with the aftershave lingering on the steering wheel. That must have also reminded them of his prayer that they drive safely. The presence of God is much the same; a sweet aroma that reminds us that He is with us. He desires for us to make good choices and to be protected by His love. When I take a walk and smell the lush fragrance of flowers and trees, I am thankful for the marvelous creation and truly feel the presence of God. Oddly, the smells at the zoo invoke the same feeling as I watch the animals and marvel at the beauty of every creature. I wish I had the same love for spiders, ants, and roaches who have a short lifespan in my house. Our sense of smell connects us with memories, alerts us to dangers, and delights us in so many ways. Many of us think of our grandmothers every holiday when we smell a turkey roasting. I do not eat turkey anymore, but still love the aroma. Many of us run from the room when the odiferous and noisy after effects hit from overeating. It is not just the men in the family that find flatulence to be funny. I prefer aftershave. This may become less popular as men give up the razor and sport more facial hair. I have given up my favorite perfume so I will stop attracting mosquitoes and bees. Luckily, there are essential oils that are delightful and ward off bugs. I know the effects of a perfumed house will not last long. I am thankful that the presence of God is everlasting. He is described as an ancient one that has glowing hair and a flowing beard. I have replaced my childhood vision with the sweet smell of all that is kind, good, gentle, faithful, peaceful, joyful, loving, patient and true. We cannot always cover up the stinky, but we can clean up and focus on the fresh scent that is so pleasing. Right now my garbage can is the best smelling part of the house. When that dissipates, I will look forward to when hubby returns home, and follow him around the house. He loves that he can lead me by the nose.
Yesterday, I used a whole canister of Clorox wipes. Today when I put my glasses on, I realized that I did not get things completely clean, and I have started round two. No, I am not a neat freak. I am cleaning all the items that were in storage for five years, that will finally be shipped to our children. The mice were having a party in there and making little nests from the children’s books. Mice are cute, but they do not clean up after themselves! Every Rubbermade lid was scrubbed down and every stick of furniture polished. Several children’s books that were in cardboard boxes are now history and will decorate the landfill. Who knew mice liked to read the classics? They didn’t touch “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”. Seems ironic or maybe that was respectful. I did spread around the dreaded mothballs to chase the mice away. Now I cannot get rid of that smell from my sinuses and memory. All clothing is being washed in hot water and toys are being given a bath. I found my fifty year old dolls, so I am feeling sentimental, but I will sell them to collectors who will hopefully treat them with more attention. I honestly regret having a basement, attic or storage unit where things lay forgotten and neglected. Take Heed Millennials, live simply and don’t fall prey to the market that wants you to buy new stuff every year. Where have all the phones and old computers gone? Next to the used disposable diapers I suppose; where they will morph into smelly transformer zombie monsters. So, how can I twist this obsession with storage, cleaning, and doom into a positive message? Maybe it is simply to be quick to share what is no longer being used. Do not save it for the future, because no one wants the broken and tattered stuff that smells like mouse and mold. Antiques and collectibles are not very popular with millennials, so give them things they really need now instead of expecting them to prize a family heirloom that will not fit in their home in twenty years. Saving for the future might be better in the form of healthcare insurance and retirement funds. Now for the spiritual aspect: moth, rust and mice will corrupt your treasures on earth, so consider the treasure of eternal life in heaven. Treasure your friends and family. Appreciate all they do for you. Store your happy memories in your mind instead of a hundred albums, videos, picture frames and digital cloud space. No one will know what to do with all your scrapbooks. Eliminate the bad memories to make space for more good ones. Eliminate the storage rooms to make more room for dinner guests and sleepovers. And now for a non sequitur: get outside and breathe the fresh air every beautiful day. We were not created to hole up in our man caves and she sheds. I am now going to take a bike ride to air out, and sit in the Harbor Perk for a bit, to fill my olfactory with the fragrance of fresh ground coffee beans.Those Clorox wipes have wiped me out.
Last week, I went to Mooseburger Clown Camp in Buffalo, Minnesota. It was five days of fun organized by former Ringling Bros./Barnum and Bailey Circus clowns. There were seventy-five students and twenty-five instructors and staff. Half the students were alumni, including a few that have returned more than ten times. Never before have I heard so many men talking about their makeup, or women talking about their size fifteen shoe. Never before have I had to choose between workshops on puppetry, ukulele, and juggling. Yes, I learned to juggle scarves- I am a failure at the balls and bowling pins. Camp was a gift from my family who are all supportive of my Bumper T Caring Clown ministry. My goal was to learn something new and to expand my skills to “clowning with a message,” which can be used for presentations at schools or library programs. There were workshops on illusions, using music and song, face painting and balloon twisting. I attended everything that was music and dance related, including the morning wiggles and giggles. I never made it to the 9:45pm offerings- the youngsters always filled me in the next day. Age range was seventeen to eighty something. Many of the students are volunteers like me, but most of them clown professionally for parties, events and presentations. Professor Flutterbuster is a full time doctor who does school science shows for fun. He was the coach for the gag my group did in the final show. I was the clown with the biggest pants hiding a fifteen foot banner that unfurls to say THE END. Of course my pants fall down and I have to pull them back up after I reveal my polka dot bloomers underneath. Hubby drove me to Camp and was there for our final All Star Show. You can ask him to see a video. In retrospect, the most incredible aspect of camp was that every person there was NICE all the time. Five days of positivity, compliments, encouragement and pleasant repartee beats the pants off a wellness center. Actually, camp was at a Catholic retreat on Buffalo Lake. Imagine pictures of clown faces hanging under portraits of Mary and Jesus. I did not hear one complaint or difficult discussion the whole week. Perhaps everyone needs a clown in the family to lighten the burden that is part of daily life. I was transformed by the kindness and the new rainbow wig that makes me look twenty years younger. The red nose that originated with the happy man who took a little nip too often is now a symbol of the people who bring joy and laughter to those who could use a lift. There may be farce and mishaps when clowns are around, but guffaws spill out to gladden the heart. So much silliness sucked me into an adventure that taught me to take life a little less seriously. Kindness is kin to love and the most important part of each day. If you like to clown around and want to make it your mission to manufacture laughter, let’s double up our efforts. For those of you who are afraid of clowns, I have a suggestion. If a mob of clowns attacks you, go for the juggler. Funny isn’t it?