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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts – There is no greater turn-off in this world than a bad smell, something that can not only nauseate you in an instant but whose memory often lingers for a lifetime. One smell of this type that immediately comes to mind is of my elementary school’s kitchen that always reeked of soup whenever I passed by. The pungent odor had evidently permeated the walls for the stink was ever present whether or not the lunchroom was open. I wouldn’t have eaten there on a bet.
Another instance that’s indelibly etched in my brain is the time my parents were looking for a new apartment. Upon entering the three family dwelling where it was located, an overpowering stench of cooked cabbage assaulted my nostrils and I ran out as quickly as possible. Needless to say the place was never even considered.
Perhaps I’m supersensitive to foul odors, but whether or not that’s true I have to praise my wife for keeping our home neat and clean, so much so that it’s a pleasure to enter the house and always has been no matter where we lived. As mentioned in a different article about pheromones, our grandchildren on several occasions have commented that they love the odor of our basement since it reminds them of us, and while we are oblivious to what they are sensing we’re of course flattered, though my wife deserves all the credit.
Don’t get the wrong idea that our abode is one of those places that resemble a museum where you’re afraid to walk on the carpet and sit on the sofa, or the antiseptic-looking houses that appear in Home and Garden magazine, for nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, our home has a neat but lived in look where books and periodicals that are being read lie on tables or by chairs, and cushions are scattered around for use rather than for appearance.
Of course this trait of tidiness comes from parents and relatives though more by nurture than nature since it’s a behavior learned while growing up, and I can provide proof for that claim. When we were first married we of course invited relatives to visit, aunts and uncles, siblings and cousins from both sides of our families. On one occasion an old aunt of mine was shortly due to arrive for the first time, when fortunately I noticed that the soap holder in the bathroom had caked-on residue. Naturally I immediately scrubbed it clean, then chided my wife for missing it by saying “don’t you realize the Inspector General is coming and everything has to be immaculate?”
My bride gave me one of those disgusted looks inferring I was exaggerating the incident’s importance, but sure enough during the visit my aunt commented on what a fine housekeeper my spouse was since “even the bathroom soap dish was spotless.” The wife smiled while flashing me a knowing sideways glance on the QT, and another reminder about the importance of cleanliness had been implanted.
With the advent of disposable liquid soap dispensers for the home, dirty soap dishes have become a thing of the past, but the recollection of my aunt’s taking notice of a seemingly insignificant point on the importance of neatness lives on.