Holiday memories dawdle like candle fume in a air
December 3, 2016 - table lamp
I blow out a candle before streamer to bed. It’s still in a residence though for a pointy whoosh of my fume and a solid parasite of a clock. The Amish-made pendulum watch was a long-ago present from a Iowa in-laws. We have to remember to breeze it any week — like clockwork, if we will — or a carillon slows to a labored, slow-motion groan, and by a time it finishes announcing midnight, it’s dual days later.
But right now, minutes, hours, years are irrelevant. The smell of a slow candle fume is a wispy time portal. In a sniff, I’m behind to some holiday party, someplace prolonged ago and distant divided where my family lived when we was a kid. It could be Thanksgiving, or a pre-Christmas entertainment — a specifics are unclear.
The lamps are low and candle abandon shimmy on each side table, coffee table, cooking list – even kitchen counters. “For a glamorous atmosphere,” my mom says. My wet-blanket grandmother tries to lard a joy, going around lamp-by-lamp, branch them behind adult to oppressive tax-office glare, disturbed someone will outing and tumble in a “glamour.” My mom scolds her for ruining a effect, and drops a lights low again. Grandma clucks her tongue. No one ever falls.
This is a memory of a ideal evening. My Aunt Jinny and Uncle Bob are here, and a cousin or dual and some family-like friends of my folks. Probably Wilfred and Eleanora. Wilfred, a constant operative who has worked for my father forever, always in classical spare black tie and frail white shirt, a slot firmly stable from draining pens. His wife, Eleanora, always brings a present she’s crocheted — covers for toasters or pencil holders. This time, a flattering blue-hooded sweater for my Madame Alexander baby doll, who creaks a tiny cry when she’s sloping brazen to put a sweater on.
The linens are out, with a integrate of stains on a list cloth from prior parties: a revealing impress of a late-night coffee here, a purple Rorschach smear there — jam from an overloaded holiday biscuit. The outlines didn’t come out during a cleaners, so they’re dark with vital chain of a bread basket or a napkin.
The tea cups are out, for coffee with a pumpkin pie. The tablecloth will tumble plant to another stain. My large cousin, Mary, 3 years comparison than I, is charged with defeat a cream for dessert. Using an old-school egg beater, she whips with such vitality it passes perfect-puffy-cloud theatre and curdles into honeyed lodge cheese. Nobody minds.
The grown-ups tell stories around a table. Like a time Mandy, a springer spaniel, got adult on a kitchen opposite and ate all a cookies that were ostensible to go to a middle-school bake sale. Or when Cousin Phil brought a bullfrog home, afterwards mislaid it in a house, creation for a good poser until a family changed years after and found a rugged blanket of skin behind Phil’s dresser.
It’s late and everybody leaves for home. There’s a clatter of picking adult plates and tea cups, a array of pointy whooshes of floating out candles. Sparks on a wicks smolder. Swirls of fume linger. So do a stories. My mom and we giggle about a bullfrog again. Grandma blinds us with a oppressive kitchen light.
The tightly-wound Amish-made time strikes a discerning midnight, pulls me behind to a now. we have to get to bed for an early work day tomorrow. The candle fume fades away.
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