I was driving my wife’s car home from the grocery store yesterday. Peering down, I noticed a nearly-finished cup of day-old coffee in the center console. I smiled to myself because there is always one there.

I had recently read an article about the benefits of coffee, remembering a point that was made about how just the smell of it can bring energy and revitalization to many people. Feeling a little tired in the moment, I thought I would put that theory to the test. I picked up the cup and took a big whiff into my nostrils. What my nose picked up was anything but revitalization. What I smelled was old, musty coffee.

However, the interesting thing was that my olfactory system sent a sudden message to my brain… a surge of memories and images suddenly entered my head . That musty old coffee reminded me of the smell of my grandmother’s house growing up. My ‘Memaw’ as I used to call her. You see, we spent just about every holiday with her and my grandfather… and I would spend my teenage summers in that house. It was my second home in a lot of ways; even though she lived 3 hours from me. Vivid memories started to rush around as I quietly drove home.

Memaw passed away in 2003. She lost her battle to cancer a couple of days after I turned 30… and almost 10 years after I lost my mom (her oldest daughter). I always had an amazing relationship with her, but never as much as during that decade after my mom left this earth. She was my rock, my confidante, my shoulder to cry on. She was one of my best friends. I was pretty lucky to be able to call my grandma that, because she truly was.
I thought about her smile, about her laugh, about her southern accent, about all of her advice she gave me during my 20s; I could hear and see it all so clearly in my mind during that drive home.

I also thought about how I could not conjure up a single memory of her being angry. And while I’m sure she had moments where she did, I couldn’t recall a single one… because at the heart of her was Love. That’s all that I remember of her. Silliness. Laughter. Love.

I want to be more like her.

I am thankful for the love she gave to me. I am thankful for the memories that I have of her. I am GRATEFUL for the emotions, images, and inspiration provided to me by a nearly-finished cup of day-old musty coffee.