Question: How long does a candle burn?
Answer: A whole wick.

No, I didn’t make that up. It’s culled, truth be known, from the pages of Highlights For Children, the mag sold in the day by not only the Brothers Bogart, but by Stuart, Rais, Bobby, Walt, Brooker, and even Baskin (for an hour) and Wieder (for a minute).

The simplest gestures—unsolicited—leave lasting imprints.

—–It’s tucked in the console of my car amid business cards and the stains of long-dried coffee… resting. ‘ Don’t eye it daily, but I know it’s there… always: the orange, white and spiraled wax. A birthday candle, it came years ago from a cupcake born in Margie’s kitchen. Only those who’ve known the pain of estrangement may understand, but the two inches from my 56th birthday symbolize miles of renewal, and love.

—–It’s in the medicine cabinet—second tier—shelves above contacts, Speed Stick and Mambo. Most mornings I see it first, even as I drip from the shower. Paraffin, red on white, shaped as the number “2”, it once crowned cake. Max’s cake. On his birthday. I was in Cleveland the day he blew it out, but it came via Meredith…by mail.

Funny the importance of those candles. I asked for neither but cling to both. I wonder if Harold knows…or Michael even.

—– I walked in the house last Monday, suppertime. “How was your day?” asked Leesa, as she does most nights. “It just got better!” I noted, approaching the kitchen. On my entrance, Carrie, who’d been unpacking groceries, looked up.

“Got a candle for your mother,’ she said. “Friday, right?”
“How did you know?” I inquired.

She just smiled.

Question: How long does a gesture live?
Answer: A lifetime.

One Response to “YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE”

  1. Call me Doctor says:

    Bruce, sinc you didn’t pik up the telllephonne whenn I callled you, here is the transcriptionion of the message I left youse.

    “Duh! Even I know your mother’s birthday is in November. Duh! Who buys a birthday candle eight months before a birthday? Of course, when I lived in Pittsburgh I had to walk 10,000 miles to buy a candle. Those were tough days, … “

Leave a Reply