Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Published on March 30th, 2009 in: Issues, Smell-O-Rama |

By Laura L.

I think it was Lynyrd Skynyrd who once sang about “that smell.” This smell, that smell, that other smell. There are good smells, like the smell of clothes after being dried using fabric softener. There are bad smells, like any gas station bathroom in the middle of nowhere. And then there is the smell that comes from my grandfather’s copy of Twenty-Four Hours A Day.

24 hrs a day

My grandfather had obtained a copy of this booklet soon after he became a Friend of Bill W. in the late seventies. The booklet provides comfort to those trying to overcome alcohol addiction. It listed each day—April 15, for instance—and the thought, meditation, and prayer for the day. Next to certain dates, Grandpa had written when certain people’s birthdays were. (So on June 28, for instance, my name was listed.) The front of the book had my grandfather’s “birthday” listed. It was bound by duct tape.

I received this booklet soon after my grandfather’s death two years ago. Grandpa supposedly wanted me to have it. When we emptied out his savings deposit box, Twenty-Four Hours a Day was among the contents. My dad thought looking at the booklet would be useful to me (despite my not having some of the same issues Grandpa had dealt with). I glanced at the book and sometimes read it, thinking of what my grandfather must have thought while reading it. But what got me more than anything was the smell of the book.

Growing up, Grandpa always had this specific smell. It was shaving cream (and possibly aftershave, too) and Freedent gum. It was a comforting smell. I always knew he was there when I smelled that smell. And sometimes, when I really miss him, I open the cover of Twenty-Four Hours a Day and breathe deeply. The smell isn’t as strong as it was two years ago, but when I close my eyes, I smell it, and I feel like Grandpa’s never gone away.

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