I remember by Feel how to ride a bike, I am reminded which pie is my favorite by Taste (I'm also reminded how much I hate tomatoes if I even taste a tiny seed), when I See pictures of a place I visited the memories come back and Hearing "Beat It" takes me back to college and my wedding... Smell it's the underdog sense, but it also might be the most powerful.
When I smell (which is kind of an odd word, by the way) citrus shampoo, I think of the outdoor shower in the Four Seasons in Hawaii where we took Kate's senior year of high school graduation trip. Patchouli reminds me of a childhood friend's dad. Oranges and cloves simmering on the stove make me think of Christmas. Dial pump foam soap reminds me of Kolar. Oh yes, and even the smell of tomatoes triggers my gag reflex.
But the most powerful scent trigger I will ever know is the smell of Obsession, my mom's perfume. The first time I remember the smell registering with me is when mom and dad were going on a date when I was about 9 years old. I just remember mom leaning over the couch where I was laying watching TV to give me a hug and she was wearing her white cashmere sweater with the crystal beads on it (it must have been in January because we lived in Houston and it was H.O.T. all the time). She looked beautiful... and she smelled beautiful.
At one point a couple years ago, mom changed her perfume and Kate, Ben and I were in an uproar. Seriously, almost in tears (not Ben... obviously). She's always worn Obsession because my dad "has a sensitive nose" and he just liked that one... but they were ready for a change and she started wearing Angel. And it is a really great smell... but it's Allison Bradley's perfume from college so whenever mom wore it, I thought of Allison! Now, mom wears both... but whenever "the kids" are around she wears her "momma" perfume.
I'm sure there's a lot of science behind the power of scent reminders, but I like to just think that God knew that we all needed to know the comfort of the smell of our mommas.