My father was a huge fan of the television cook Lidia Bastianich, so when I had the chance to see her live and in person at an event yesterday, I immediately thought of him. During the event, in which Lidia spoke about the Italian culture to a group of students from Harlem, she discussed some of her own family traditions.
She talked about how oranges were a typical treat in her house, and about how her family would dry oranges in the oven. It was as if all of a sudden I could smell oranges drying in the oven of my childhood home as well – as it was something that my father did, too! It made me think of how many times we share an experience of ourselves with those around us, only to realize that others have similar memories. For me, thinking about how orange rinds smell as they bake in the oven was a nice reminder that no matter where I end up, or what I may be doing, my father’s memory is still alive.
The moment also reinforced for me the idea that no matter what we are doing, it’s as if our faith and traditions are built into our DNA. How many times have you been walking along on an ordinary day when the smell of a particular flower or burning incense, or the sight of stained-glass windows or other artwork, reminds you of your parish church? I’m thankful to have so many memories of my family and my faith – and I can’t wait to see which ones burst into my daily life next.
Has there been a recent moment for you in which a memory was triggered by a sight, smell or sound that reminded you of a loved one or cherished faith-filled memory?