Delta Winds cover 2006Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College



Dania Yadira Avelar

In my family, Christmas is a remarkable time to reinforce the family union. On one particular occasion, we celebrated the holiday at my grandmother's house. As I entered grandma's front door, traditional carols lifted my spirits, enticing aromas excited my taste buds, and the deafening squeals of stampeding children echoed throughout the living room. I made my way to the kitchen and stepped back for a moment to observe the way my family was enjoying each other's company. As soon as everybody had eaten, my family gathered in a circle to exchange gifts. I anxiously waited to discover who my secret Santa was. When it was my father's turn to give away his present, he clutched a present from under the tree and placed it gently in my hands. I opened the emerald covered box with the scarlet ribbon on top, hoping to get the cellular phone I had been yearning for. To my surprise, it was not a phone at all. It was a perfume that my mother and grandmother always wore, Gardenia. I was not amused with the gift. Little did I know, however, that throughout the years Gardenia would etch precious memories in my life such as my first date, my grandmother's stories, and my mother's obliging attentiveness.

My ears perked up at the sound of the doorbell. I drenched perfume all over my favorite crimson shirt, dashed out of the lavatory and slammed the door behind me. From the look on David's face, I thought I left him waiting too long, but I soon realized that my father was standing right behind me. Since this was my initial date, my father felt eager to be acquainted with the pubescent boy who was taking me to the movie. After eyeing David up and down, Dad gave us a long sermon about not talking to strangers and not arriving late. Soon, David and I were off to see the motion picture. Within a couple of minutes in the car, I sensed that my boyfriend was stridently inhaling oxygen through his mouth. I wondered what was wrong with him. Then, I understood that my perfume was the cause of all of this. Apparently, my cologne's scent was so intense that you would not notice a skunk if it waddled right in front of you. I rolled down the squeaky window as fast as I could. Finally, we arrived at our destination and enjoyed the movie. On our way back home I wondered if David had adapted to my acute aroma, and I wished I had simply applied deodorant. Afterwards, he walked me to the door and when I least expected it I felt David plant a sweet, soft kiss on my plump cheeks. As he walked away, he suddenly swirled back and said that he would not wash his shirt because my fragrance reminded him of our first date. I could not help but smile.

Not only does this perfume remind me of my first date, it also brings to mind my grandmother's stories. I remember as a youngster that my grandma filled the room with the scent of fresh picked gardenias. Hunting my grandma down was by no means a problem for me because all I had to do was elevate my nose, catch hold of the perfume, and follow it. My grandmother always had electrifying stories to enlighten me whenever my parents were out of town or dining with close friends. Her anecdotes usually consisted of fascinating fairy tales. She mentioned everything from mermaids who longed to become human to gorgeous princesses who waited tolerantly for their charming prince. After her long narratives, I found myself dozing off to a cozy slumber. When I woke up from my siesta, I customarily found a plate filled with chocolate chip cookies waiting for me. For the duration of my life I will always savor my grandmother's habitually exaggerated stories, her scrumptious cookies, and most of all her sweet aroma.

Finally, Gardenia evokes my mother's colossal attentiveness. It seems as though my mom was born with a sixth sense: she always knows when I have a problem even though my facade expresses unmitigated merriment. On every occasion, she starts off by giving me "that" look and pinpointing my quandary. Then, she stands six inches away from my face, gazes deep into my dark russet eyes, and says, "Come on, spill the beans." At that instant the only thing I can focus on is on her sweet perfume. Every time I sniff the scented air I feel as if nothing can go wrong and that everything will be fine. After my mom's question, I know there is no way to avoid having "the talk." Therefore, I take a deep breath and tell her what is bothering me. In a couple of minutes, my mom finds a simple solution to my crisis. Following our conversation, she wraps her warm, slender arms around me and gives me a little smack on my forehead. I feel composed and protected whenever my mom's unforgettable cologne embraces me.

As the years have progressed, it is evident that my perspective about Christmas has changed. Before, I did appreciate my family's company, but I placed significant emphasis on the presents I received. I did not realize this until my father gave me Gardenia as a Christmas present. I have learned that whenever someone bestows a gift, to not place so much value on the object itself, but on what the object represents; love, friendship, and success are some examples. Perhaps some day other colognes will engrave many memories in my mind and soul, but only time will tell.