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This Father’s Day, Remember Your Dad with All 5 Senses

By Barbara Younger June 14, 2023 Family

When I taught writing, I asked my students to describe their parents by using the five senses. Gosh, does this writing exercise elicit vibrant responses! Here are some words my community college students, who ranged in age from 18 to 60, used to describe their fathers:

My dad smelled like machine oil and Old Spice.

If you hug Daddy, he feels like a big old pillow.

My dad played jazz records night and day. This drove Mom nuts!

The heirloom roses my father grew in our front yard were gorgeous, especially the yellow ones.

Dad can’t resist Good and Plenty, Snickers, and Oreos.

It’s our turn!


What did your dad smell like? My dad loved Noxema, so that’s the smell I associate him with.


How did your dad feel when you touched him? Mine held me up in the rough surf of Ocean City, Maryland, when I was a little girl. I remember the feel of his big, strong, sure hand in mine.


What sounds do you associate with your dad? The crack of the bat, the cheers of the crowd, the ads for Ballantine Beer. Summer meant the Baltimore Orioles on my dad’s transistor radio. He carried it with him everywhere.


What foods shout, “That’s my dad!” Mine loved fried chicken and my mom’s ginger cookies. Actually, he loved anything my mom cooked.


When you close your eyes, how do you see your dad? For years, my dad dispensed dog treats to the family dogs by sitting in a rocker in the kitchen. Dad is gone, but I’ve got the rocker to remember that happy sight.

To honor your dad this month, celebrate him with the senses.

Listen to what he loved to listen to, be it baseball, Beethoven or bird sounds. Enjoy his favorite foods. Look at what he loved to look at. Find those dad smells, and let the memories come drifting back. And imagine your dad’s touch. And if he’s still with you, give him the biggest hug ever.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How would you describe your dad, using one or more of your 5 senses? Did he smell a certain way? What did his voice sound like? Please join the conversation.

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I associate the aroma of Noxema with your Dad, too! He and your Mom used to sit near me in church. I Will share your post!


This article really laid out “the assignment”. So much so that it brought tears, regrets, and yet (upon thinking through the sensual memories) more relelease from guilt feelings than ever before. In fact I now feel such a deep sense of appreciation for him. Thank you.
I am the oldest of his 5 children and we are all in our 70s now. This article is going to be sent to each of my siblings. Perhaps we will do a group call on Father’s Day to share our thoughts. Somehow I think he might have like this.


Thank you so much! I am honored you will be sharing.

The Author

Barbara Younger writes Friend for the Ride: Encouraging Words for the Menopause and Midlife Roller Coaster The author of over twenty books, she lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with her husband Cliff. She’s the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother to one adorable little boy.

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