But I can't help but remember now that Valentine's Day was the day my grandpa went into the hospital, that last time. He didn't die until over a month later, the day before St. Patrick's Day. I never much liked corned beef and cabbage. I was so glad to have it the day Grandpa died, because it was a symbol of my aunt Kathy loving us and taking care of us, but ever since then the prospect of it makes my stomach revolt, because the smell refers back to not only Grandpa's loss but the day Gran died thirteen years earlier and the college cafeteria had the wretched stuff, and that wasn't anybody taking care of me at all.
And tonight the thaw refreezing smelled a particular way, when I opened the door to let the dog out, that recalled a March visit to Sioux Falls when I was very small, when we took Gran out for Chinese food, after Grandpa had discovered he liked Chinese food, and I walked out to the car with my dad and whacked my head into his hand for affection and he scruffed my hair and it was me and Daddy and Grandpa, walking to the car in the refreezing night, not a memory of anything, just a memory, keeping up with big strides on little legs, being together, Andes mint on my tongue. I know not everybody has that kind of vivid sense memory, but I do, and sometimes I don't know how I'd find my way through time without them.