. . . of memories
Writing as I sit on the window seat in an alcove upstairs at the Hairon Salon, waiting for my son to have his hair cut, I can see the bay, half-tide. Sparrow song outside mixes with Hosier’s Take Me to Church playing over the speakers. Heavy on the bass.
Thoughts turn to yesterday.
Shortly after my son’s camera arrived in the afternoon (he really liked working with my Nikon D3100 at Manito Park on our way back from Calgary, so I kitted him up with one, along with a couple of basic lenses), we popped over to Rite Aid to pick up a memory card for it. Standing beside the display of secured camera dodads was a rack of bargain movies.
Right in front, perfect line of vision. I picked it up, held it for a few moments, put it back.
We waited for one of the sales associates to be free, finish serving the semi-long line of shoppers ready to pay.
I picked it up again.
One memory led to another. A thought crossed my mind. I’ve been in that store countless times, but it never occurred to me to check before. “I wonder if they carry Ciara.” A scent from my youth. The first cologne I bought for myself. All prior had been gifts from Grandma Jameson. Avon.
On the shelf, a familiar yellow box, foil-stamped images of archers, two others I’ve never been able to figure out.
“Stay here to wait. I’m going over there for a moment.”
It may not be considered a sophisticated perfume. Certainly not of the expensive variety. An official descriptor goes like this: “Ciara was presented in 1973, in a gleeful and merry breeze of bergamot, lemon and neroli at the beginning. Floral wave of jasmine, iris, palisander and ylang-ylang form the heart, while base notes include incense, myrrh, raspberry, sandalwood, patchouli, cedar, leather, musk, opoponax and vanilla.” *
It speaks to me of dance, of energy, adventure, friends, good memories, Canada.
One whiff of it, I’m backstage, the air filled with a heady mixture of cologne, makeup, hairspray. Well-dressed moms, costumed daughters, sons. It didn’t matter whether it was behind the curtains on the stage at Lord Beaverbrook High School for the McDonald Wilson Dance Academy’s annual showcase (one performance Saturday, two on Sunday), or with my class from Allan Cozzubo Academy of Dancing in Edmonton at the Jubilee Auditorium for a competition between all the studios in Alberta (we placed third in the large group category. good times), the aroma always seemed the same.
One particular event — “Dancers Delight” at Lord Beaverbrook — is still very clear. We got to watch the show when we didn’t need to be getting ready. I don’t recall what our song was, or much about the dance (I think it was of a charleston variety), but I do remember one group. Advanced jazz. The song was Listen to What the Man Said, by Paul McCartney and Wings.
They wore white shirts, black pants, black suspenders, black bowlers. That set my favourite style for life. And, the mysterious, wonderful fragrance backstage — too shy to actually ask anyone — launched me on a quest to discover its source. I haunted perfume counters until I found it.
Yesterday I found it again. All of it.
Sometimes being under the influence is a very good thing.
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* description source: fragrantica.com