Put the candle back!

IN a hectic week the search for plastic bottle lids may seem somewhat minor, but it was huge. My students are making crazy colored snowpersons for holiday gifts. I saved lids all year, but we were running short. Like any nutty art teacher, I did my grocery shopping list based on the recyclables I needed for class:
  1. Buy juice
  2. Pour juice into pitcher
  3. Wash lid
  4. Recycle bottle
  5. Take lid to art class

Time was running short, so I went through the condiments in the refrigerator. Poured the lime juice into a glass Ragu jar just to get the green lid. Same with the salad dressing. What year was this tartar sauce made? Ewww! Throw that scary stuff out, but save the lid.

On to the pantry cupboard. Two jars of parsley flakes! Bonanza! Combine them to score a large yellow lid. How long has that bottle of Karo corn syrup been stuck to the shelf paper? You don't want to know how many years it's been since I made peanut brittle.

Now it's slash and burn through the top shelf of souvenir squeeze bottles. I didn't know I had this stuff. Back behind the Tupperware popsicle molds (my youngest child is twenty-one, for heaven's sake!)... Look! It's Grandma's candleholder!

I was doing a double-take. Halma had a candleholder at each end of the big wooden buffet in her dining room in Pierce. For years I've felt guilty because I could only find one of the candleholders. I feared I'd lost the other in one of my moves from house to condo to condo. But now, here was the second one. Had to hold one in each hand to convince myself I still had both.

It's silly, really. They each hold two candles that never stand up straight, and have no particular aesthetic appeal. But at least I wasn't the descendant who was negligent. I didn't lose the family treasure, I just misplaced it behind a bunch of Texas Summer Reading Club water bottles.

A great weight has lifted. I'm lighter than Igor without his hunchback. As Gene Wilder so emphatically instucts Teri Garr, "Put the candle back."

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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