Because the weather is warming up and the grass is greening up, it is now Skin-So-Soft season. The no-see’ems are coming out. Those are the ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and other critters that bite your flesh and make life miserable (the few things I hate about OK). I discovered SSS years ago from my farrier (yep the guy who shoes horses). He used SSS in a combo with fly repellent to spray on horses to keep the flies from bothering him and the horses while he was shoeing. If I were ever to be a contestant on “Survivor”, the one thing I would take with me to the island would be SSS, because I cannot stand the no-see’ems . SSS is the greatest invention since the wheel. SSS repels bugs and keeps your skin soft. I think you can even get it with a sun screen. Amazing!
When I first started using SSS, there seemed to be something familiar about the smell. I couldn’t place where I had smelled the scent before, but it was somehow comforting. I loved it immediately. Then one day while telling my mother about SSS, she said, “Oh, your grandmother loved that stuff. She used it all of the time.” Aha! So that was it. That was the reason I recognized the scent of SSS. The smell was taking me back to days spent at my grandmother’s house. My grandmother sold Avon and always had lots of fun perfume bottles and cream jars. But it was the smell of SSS that reminded me of her.
My brother and I called her “Mama” because she did not want to be called grandmother. I guess it was because she was a fairly young grandmother when my brother and I came along. The later grandkids called her grandma. Her name was Essie May. She was a little German/American Indian woman with dark hair and blue-green eyes. She is probably the reason I am short and round. She was amazingly strong for a woman and vivacious. Pink was her favorite color. We have so much in common that is scares me. Yet, I am much like my father. The two of them did not get along at all – both bossy.
Mama would plan these fantastic excursions whenever we came to visit. She liked to take us to the Dallas Zoo and Fair Park. She would carry an old Coca-cola metal ice chest, a homemade quilt, and huge baskets of food on these outings. One time while we were at the Zoo, she made everyone climb up this hill because it would be the best place for our picnic. Everything was toted up the hill including my brother and me. When it came time to leave, Mama grabbed up the metal ice chest, the quilt, the food, and had me under one arm and my brother under the other arm. I remember my very soft-spoken grandfather saying, “Do you have it all, Essie?” She giggled knowing that he was making fun of her.
Sometimes, I find myself doing the same thing. Whenever we are gathering up items, whether it is groceries, tools, suitcases, etc, I tend to grab everything I can possibly carry. Toby will say, “Do you have it all, Essie?” It is a reminder that I do not have to carry or do it all by myself. It is also a reminder of my Mama - just like the smell of SSS.