Can't handle anymore candles
In a corner of my house, in the front room, is a mysterious pile of shopping bags and gift boxes filled with I know not what. This is The Wife’s pile, a stash of housewarming and hostess gifts accumulated over the years and available in the event of a social emergency; a forgotten birthday, an unexpected dinner invitation. This is just one of the many things I knew nothing of until I got married.
I have my own piles of course, every husband does, but my piles are more prosaic; dirty laundry and dishes, stacks of biographies of obscure historical figures, and half a dozen foam neck pillows purchased at various airports in the vain hope this time I’d actually sleep on a plane. I’m sure the seventh pillow will do the trick.
Recently, out of curiosity, I rummaged through The Wife’s treasure trove of tchatzkies. After rifling through clouds of tissue paper, ribbons and bows here’s what I uncovered: three sets of wine bottle stoppers (two of which are Christmas themed), fourteen bracelets, (mostly Indian jewelry picked up in Santa Fe), five picture frames, two sets of small cheese knives, six sets of drink coasters, tea towels, a blank leather journal, two cat calendars from 2012 and eighty-five scented candles of various shapes and sizes. This, of course, doesn’t count the scented candles liberally distributed throughout the rest of the house. We have enough candles to light a cathedral.
In fairness to The Wife not all of this junk came from Kingfisher or one of the other girl stores she frequents. At least sixty of the candles were gifts (undoubtedly re-gifts) from various guests to our home over the years. Our candle cache includes long, thin tapers; big round candles the size of coffee cans, squares, rectangles with a cacophony of competing aromas, cranberry candles battling it out with the strawberries, vanillas and sages for scent supremacy. There’s even something called “Mountain Mist” which, to me, smells exactly like every other candle on earth.
Some are shrink wrapped others in fancy boxes, still others covered in dust after years, maybe decades, waiting for their first match.
Sadly, like everything else today, candles are going the way of gluten, replaced by something newer, something better, or so we’re told. In our house the only candles that ever see action are battery powered with little flickering LED bulbs creating the illusion of flame... and birthday candles.
Lots and lots of birthday candles.
I’ve reached the age where it’s no longer safe to put a candle on a cake for every year of my life. Before we can get them all lit the first batch are reduced to puddles of waxy goo. When told to “make a wish” invariably I wish there were fewer candles on the cake. Then there’s the likelihood the smoke alarm will go off.
A decade ago we switched to number candles, flipping 6s to make 9s, and eventually gave up entirely after filling up the junk drawer with half-melted 3s, 5s and 8s.
In the movies sexy and glamorous stars can’t get enough candles. Every bathtub is surrounded by 12 thousand flickering candles, the international symbol for passion. The Wife and I tried this once but we ran out of matches before half were lit and by then the tub was cold.
And let’s face it, at my age, total darkness is an aphrodisiac.
So should you invite us to your home for any reason consider yourselves warned, a candle is coming with us. Undoubtedly only to find its way back to our place around the holidays.
Doug McIntyre’s column appears Sundays. Hear him weekdays 5-10 on AM 790. He can be reached at: Doug@DougMcIntyre.com.