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How Long Will it Last?

December 2020

Recently, I received promotional materials from The Colonel, Colonel Littleton in Tennessee. I was stunned at the savvy quality of the marketing of superb merchandise. The Colonel has found a new recruit! One of the more tempting items for sale is Col. Littleton Cologne. I immediately yielded to temptation — once I’d read the reviews. I decided that this subtle scent of citrus and manly spices just might replace the Old Spice cologne that I’d loved, since childhood. It was my father’s scent, and, for many years, it was a treasured fragrance that I wore extremely well. As an adolescent and young adult, my son wore this after-shave, until the Corporation went and ruined it, sometime circa 2005. I then purchased Tricorn cologne from Caswell-Massey, along with the favorite fragrance of President George Washington, Number Six. Dear Son preferred the Tricorn, and so did I — until Caswell-Massey went the way of the Chinese dragon and ruined ALL of their scents! The term “relaunch” is code for hawking inferior quality goods, often made Elsewhere, at a higher price.

About ten years ago, I tried an online purchase that looked to be uber-traditional, dating back 200 years (ever since 1799) to the production of the original Eau de Cologne by Mäurer & Wirtz in Cologne, Germany. I must have missed the finer details of liquid volume sizing since the flacon that arrived equaled a gallon. Dear Husband gave the small vat of cologne to his barber as a gag gift for Christmas! The scent was pungently potent, stinking up the entire house with one dose. The history of this cologne is sufficiently tortured, in the true German sense. This Eau de Cologne, after many national legal disputes, ended up going the globalist route, not unlike Black Beauty and his many abusive owners. I do think, though, that unlike that glorious horse, the fate of this cologne has been the glue factory: from the original producers to Wella to Proctor & Gamble (the crematorium for any scent product) to whatever is “the Dalli group of global brands”. It’s enough to make a grown man, or woman, cry. Which is why the Colonel has come to the rescue at such a momentous moment in the olfactory life — of not only me, but of millions of men in this yearning-to-be-free country of the U.S.A. When I ordered online the Col. Littleton Cologne, I was heartened to see that this product is NOT shipped internationally. It’s an American original and Colonel Littleton intends to keep it that way!

Men, and their colognes, have experienced a hideous worldwide assault on manhood. The demise of Old Spice disgusted and infuriated me so much that I decided to incorporate the product into the plot line and the characterization of Arthur Boucher Carmichael in THE DAWN. The work of a novelist and her research is not all work, and no play! I recall that when I initially discovered, during the mid-2000s, that Old Spice had gotten fiddled with in vulgar and degrading ways, there was no peace in the Milligan household for days, going into weeks. When Mom gets upset about something, it’s not a quietly fuming experience! Mom was on the warpath over the Corporate Blobs. Mom believes her Adult Children are presently on a similar warpath with the Corporate Slobs!

I’d already accepted the gruesome fact that women’s perfumes had been ludicrously re-formulated for the Fruit-Roll-up Juicy-Glittery-Attention-Deficit crowd during the past 20 years or so, but the scents for men also became appallingly awful. “Surprisingly contemporary” translates to “boringly bad.” It was therefore with enormous pleasure that I have, at last, been able to replace the Old Spice of my childhood souvenirs with a scent that the Colonel takes particular pride in — along with his leather goods. The Colonel specializes in leather goods, and I do mean leather and I do mean good. His ad pitch for these exquisite items is: How long will it last? Or, as Michael Martin Murphey has melodically intoned: What’s forever for? Where quality merchandise — including cologne, is concerned — it ought to last till the cows come home. Till the end of time. At least that duration is what my scent memory wants, and it’s what my heart not only desires but needs.

In Chapter 85 of THE DAWN, Arthur, recast as Free French agent Artur, has begun to prepare his men, the French resisters in Provence, for their first sabotage mission at Montélimar during Easter, or Pâques, in April 1943. I quote my own writing here: Artur believed that any errors or problems encountered at this stretch of the railway at Montélimar could prove very risky, but everyone would learn from taking those risks. Future assignments would be even more risky; they would have to be accomplished with extreme efficiency. The time for any errors was now. Now, there would be time to correct errors, unless those mistakes proved fatal. Arthur, like myself, is an optimist! I have very little sympathy for any person who stubbornly, almost self-righteously, refuses to learn from his mistakes, especially in the love arena. The onus moreover is usually put on The Other Person. Mr. Tiff really wasn’t in it for the love, but he incessantly gripes that love has passed him by. For Miss Snit, “at long last love” never lasted very long for her. Many years ago, when I was told by that type of sad sack lonely-heart that he’d never found true love, I asked him: Have you ever looked for it?

“It” is what makes the world go ‘round, and yet “it” eludes the very person who ungratefully complains, in the midst of a love that just might be the love of a lifetime. The problem for such a person is that the Ideal is always preferred to the Real. In that sense, the Idealist has more than a touch of evil in his or her heart. That heart will not yield to the touch of another, simply because surrendering heart-and-soul to someone, or even something, else requires the type of heart that such a self-absorbed person lacks, sometimes tragically, sometimes because of the prison of selfishness that he lethargically inhabits. The periodic and episodic thrill of the chase has replaced the sincere and ardent beating of a heart, reaching out tenderly and eternally to the heart of another. “It” lasts as long as your heart is willing to put time and devotion, heart and soul into whatever “it” is. It lasts as long as your heart seeks to beat with the heart of a beloved, not ahead of, or against, or separately from that chalice of passion. “It” lasts forever for the strong and wild heart that needs to be tamed, but also needs to tame the heart of someone equally strong and wild. That heart pulsates with the completeness of freedom that creates le grand amour that unites Lady Liberty and Monsieur Conquistador. “It” lasts more than a lifetime for the brave hearts who honor their hearts. “It” lasts for as long as anyone with a heart wishes it to last.

One of my favorite scenes from the epic 1965 Hollywood film, Dr. Zhivago, involves the passionate doctor demanding an answer from a Russian military zealot to this question: Have you ever loved a woman? Yes, the Communist apathetically answered. He once had a wife and children, but they got tossed overboard for the Cause. To believe in a cause, and to commit yourself to that cause — as an escape — is not a noble endeavour. To believe in a cause, and to commit yourself to that cause — for the sake of another person, in the service of a profound sacrifice, to do the will of God — is a magnificent mission of the heart and soul. The Pasha Antipov’s of the world are not happy men: They do not love; they cannot love, and they truly are despised by the men, and women, who can, and do, love. The lust for power is the antithesis of the power of love.

How long will it last? Perhaps merely asking the question is an indication of fear, and fear is the enemy of love. I John 4:18 states the eternal truths: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. When I first saw this little paper slip of advertising from Colonel Littleton, I laughed and said: “A guy nowadays needs to hand that slip of paper to the girl on The First Date.” A permission slip, or even an honest slip of the tongue, might launch the love battle with a lot less bloody heartache!

Christmas 2020 The Colonel Goes to Paris I have received my bottle of the Colonel Littleton Cologne, No. 21, and have immensely enjoyed wearing this fragrance. Light, fresh, invigorating but not overpowering, the scent is a winner, and a keeper. It is not, however, a replacement in itself for Old Spice, although it does one up on the original Tricorn of Caswell-Massey. There’s not much spice to the Colonel’s concoction, but that deficiency is okay. This cologne is unique unto itself, which is something we all can use in our lives, be it fragrance or fun or the simple joy of a snowfall morning at Christmas time.

The perfume that is perhaps the most signature for me is Shalimar by Guerlain. It’s a strong scent, but a gorgeous one, as long as the skin is not saturated with it. This parfum was originally created by Jacques Guerlain in 1921; Old Spice was drummed up in 1937 as Early American Old Spice by Mr. William Lightfoot Schultz and his company, Shulton, a business that produced soap and toiletries. The target audience for Old Spice was women, so I’d say that my use of it was in keeping with the original intent of the inventor. The Old Spice version for men was launched just before Christmas that same year, 1937. I decided to do something that I normally disdain: layering different scents. There are some perfume junkies out there who specialize in the hideous act of formulating on their skin the olfactory equivalent of the 7-Layer-Bean Dip that is a long-time favorite in the Milligan household.

How long will it last? That question is not asked with hopeful longing whenever a person intersects with that reeking creature! I therefore generously sprayed the Colonel’s No. 21 Cologne first onto my skin, followed a minute or two later by a small dose of Shalimar. The key to scent success here resides in the percentages of the ingredients: too much Shalimar, and the Parisienne overpowers the Colonel. It”s not a courteous combination, or a very sporting chance at scent harmony. Some might say it’s not civilized! I’d say the optimal potion is 3 parts Colonel to 1 part Shalimar. The mélange is not quite Old Spice. It’s more of a French-ie Colonel, whom I shall call Commandant Monfils, in honor of the valiant young French officer in THE DAWN/L’AUBE.

This resultant bouquet is definitely The Colonel Goes to Paris, and the French — entre les guerres — welcome him. They do not hug him, or even smile, because a true Française certainly does not embrace a total stranger; nor does she give away a smile: You must earn it. The Colonel was greeted more with the subtly attentive look of restrained curiosity that whispers, How long will that delightful scent last? The Colonel, of course, did not part with any trade secrets. On that grayish winter day in Paris, he tipped his hat and went on his way . . .


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