For as long as I can remember, my mother liked “l’Heure Bleu” a classic Guerlaine fragrance. As a little girl, I would see her “dab” a little behind each ear with the cut crystal stopper and I knew something special was happening. This fragrance, along with Chanel No. 5 was her special gift from my father each Christmas. On Christmas eve, at the last possible moment, he would exit to pick up his gifts. Of course, we always pretended we didn’t know what he was up to, acting totally surprised when we saw the little gold wrapped packages with satin ribbons from the Fragrance bar. Since my father is no longer with us, this ritual has been forgotten though now as grown up girls, we are gifting ourselves. But, it’s not the same. The element of mystery, surprise and receiving this gift from Dad is simply irreplaceable.
Recently, my sister was rummaging in our father’s old tool box and discovered a package which had been carefully hidden from view. It was a bottle of “L’Heure Bleu”. This took my sister by surprise, but she realized that it was typical of my father to have a special bottle hidden, ready to give in a special moment to his ‘best girl’, my mother. So, this year we presented the bottle with the story to my mother and something wonderful happened. We celebrated the memory of my father; his uncanny ability to “show up” just when we needed him most. My mother, held the bottle in her hands and shared how the fragrance brought back her memories of being in Paris in the 1950s after the war. The memories of her romance, their life together and the fragrance were inextricably tied together. It was a powerful moment. Our recollections of my father and his celebration for life’s beautiful things (or all things French) will be forever part of our Holiday this year.
Here’s to wishing you “Happy Remembrances” and may they be filled with the sights and smells of your memories of the holiday season.