On this day...

February 24th

On this day in 1939, Bill Bowman was born in Kentucky. He is the oldest child of Bill and Kate Bowman, my grandparents, and older brother to my mom, Judy. He married the love of his life, Nancy, in the 1960s, has two daughters, several grandchildren and great grandchildren. He worked in sales for several auto dealerships throughout is career and once owned a bar. And he is my uncle. I remember his cigars, dancing the jitterbug with his beautiful wife, and always a smile on his face. Who else knows Uncle Bill?

Scent of Smoke
by Chris Wood

A feathered barrette pinned to her hair
and braided leather across her forehead,
my cousin, tired of babysitting, drags me 
and my sister to the woods to meet up 
with her friends, smoking cigarettes, 
sneaking swigs of Jack, threatening us 
not to tell. I would beg for a puff, a sip. 
They laughed when I coughed and gagged.
I still smell the smoke – cigarettes, cigars,
sometimes the other stuff. Flashes of my uncle, 
always with a cigar between his fingers. 
My dad, his pipe hanging out of his mouth,
friends chain smoking. I can even feel the draw
of the Winston Lights I used to smoke.  
It's funny what you remember. The scents
and sights that trigger them. I watched a video 
my cousin posted to social media. Her parents, 
dancing. He has dementia now. The body remembers 
even if the mind does not. I wonder 
                                                            if he remembers me.

“Scent of Smoke” published in Impspired Issue 21

Photo credit: Gina Bowman

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