Around-The-Campfire Stories – Scented Visits – Full-Time RV Life


The campfire will be beckoning us this evening if we are brave enough to yield to those who roam on All Hallow’s Eve.  There will be witches dancing around the flames conjuring their various spells, thirsty vampires hovering above trees looking for juicy victims, and adorable trick-or-treaters making their rounds with peels of laughter while gathering their sweet treats.  And ghosts.  Oh, how I love ghosts.

I’m not talking about the spooky, scary kind that try to frighten us in the dead of night.  Not everyone has a sixth sense of things unseen and some think the theory is plain nonsense, but I’m of the mind that there are unexplained phenomena that defy scientific proof or have a definitive explanation.   They can come in the form of miracles, hunches, and visitations.

My grandmother has been gone for over 20 years.  Granny was a sweet woman with a lighthearted giggle and a sharp sense of humor–and, oh how that lady could cook.  All of our family gatherings were centered around her wonderful homemade recipes as she taught her methods and offered us tastings in various stages of preparation.  My grandmother also loved Emeraude perfume.  It wasn’t expensive and I remember my siblings and I picking the holiday gift sets for her at Christmas–the ones with the eau de toilette, powder, and skin cream in the pretty packages.  She would “ooh and aah” over our offering, and she’d immediately dab a bit behind each ear.  It was a scent that was familiar and comforting, and we always associated it with our Granny.

Fast forward a few years and my siblings and cousins are all adults with our own families, long after Granny passed.  Gatherings with the entire family waned because of distance and work, but we all shared something special.

I didn’t inherit the cooking gene from my grandmother, and my holiday meals were prepared by following careful recipes and self-induced stress.  I remember burning the turkey and dissolving into tears one year when cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  As I cleared my sniffles and peeled off the char, I smelled a familiar sweet scent.  It was the Emeraude that my dear Granny used to wear.  I inhaled it deeply and let it calm my nerves.  I knew it was Gran, and I closed my eyes and imagined falling into her embrace.  It was such a comfort and reassurance in my time of need.  Throughout the years, in moments emotional distress and almost-comical cooking failures, her scent would appear and always while cooking.

During a rare occasion when all my siblings were together, we each shared similar experiences–all involving the essence of Emeraude.  We were reluctant to admit the encounters at first, but the floodgates opened as we related our similar stories of her presence while cooking.

One evening, shortly after Mike and I got married, we were cooking dinner together.  Mike asked, “Are you wearing perfume?  It smells good, but it’s a little strong.”  I smiled.  I don’t wear perfume, but I knew who did.

“Mike, you need to meet my Granny.  That’s her scent.”  Just as quickly as it appeared, the scent was gone.  She liked Mike or he wouldn’t have been able to sense her–and it was validation that her presence wasn’t just my imagination or created from an unconscious wish to have her there.

I love her visits.  While I can’t conjure Granny’s presence on a whim, I’ve learned to cherish the appearances when they do happen.  It’s a comfort and a joy.

So, while the goblins, werewolves, and loup garous roam around tonight among the fetching tiny humans in their costumes asking for candy, remember those who’ve passed.  Smell the air and take a moment to simply feel.   Maybe, just maybe, there is something wonderful that can’t be seen–beckoning from beyond our understanding.  Are the hairs rising on the back of the neck with creeping gooseflesh and an unexplained tingling?  That’s real.  Don’t let it pass unnoticed.

granny 2
My Grandmother (Dorotha) on the right with her youngest sister (Margie) on the left.

Have you had similar encounters?  Please share in the comments below.

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  1. What a sweet, heartfelt story. They say our sense of smell is one of our strongest and can illicit the most memories. You’re blessed to have those memories.

  2. I think everyone has a great story (or stories) of feeling departed loved ones. It’s nice to know a loved one is looking out for you!

  3. Emeraude is my husband’s favorite fragrance for me to wear. I don’t wear much perfume but when I do it is that or White Musk. I have felt my sister’s presence and my dad’s on several occasions. I know they are watching out for me. Nice campfire story, Dawn! Happy Halloween.

  4. What a lovely story, Dawn. Your granny has a strong presence in the afterlife. I love that I am reading this on All Saints Day, the day after Halloween. Your grandmother is one of the saints, for sure.

  5. “…my holiday meals were prepared by following careful recipes and self-induced stress…” LOL I SO get that! My experiences with those gone through the next door has been more one of movement. I thought I had written a post about it, but I can’t find it. Maybe I’ll go do that since I didn’t do a Halloween anything…

  6. My mom is a funeral parlor cut flower smell…it startles me every time…but I’m glad she’s around.

  7. Lucky you to have such a lovely memory of a grandmother. My paternal gramma died before my parents married and the maternal one when I was about 2 years old. I do miss what I never had. Again I say, lucky you.

    1. I’m so sorry you lost your grandparents at such a young age. I do feel fortunate–I was very close to my grandmother growing up, and I’m so thankful for the time with her. Hopefully, sharing the love with your grandchildren/step grandchildren will heal the longing–you are such an enriching part of their lives and a part of memories they will have forever.

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