29 January 2021

On saints and plumbing parts

"Why," asked my husband, "do you have a reducer on your desk?"

Well, it's not really my *desk* - it's really our dining room table, but I have been working from home for ten and a half months and it's not like we're throwing dinner parties, and yes, I had been rummaging around in the bin of spare plumbing bits in the cellar, because I needed something to act as a candlestick. As one does. 

Over time, I've accumulated many many candles - mostly tapers, some pillars, a few in jars or tins. Some I've bought, some were gifts, a couple of dozen were a score from our local Buy Nothing page (a super useful iteration of Facebook). And yes, some of the candle stash came home with me when we cleaned out our mother's house. Since about mid-December, because it's dark and cold out, we've been lighting candles on the mantle almost every night. I have, as a result, been working through the candle drawer. 

Stuffed way in the back was a plastic bag, clear plastic, the long narrow kind the newspaper comes in. (My mother was the queen of reusing every single plastic bag, even the ones that had had newsprint in them and probably shouldn't have had celery stored in them later.) Inside, wrapped in tattered newsprint, I could feel several candles. My fingers knew that they were bigger wider taller than standard tapers, so I've ignored them for years, thinking they were some kind of utility candle. But the other day, I pulled them out and unwrapped them. Huh. Two tapers, and one half taper. The half taper had been sawed cleanly across - so the wick was merely visible in cross section, no little loose bit of string emerged. More mysteriously, all three were stamped STA. ISABEL down towards the bottom. 

And because they were bigger than normal, they weren't going to fit in any candlestick I own. Happily, the reducer worked PERFECTLY.

Many questions remain, though. Where did my mother come by three clearly ecclesiastical candles? Who was Saint Isabel? Why did someone saw the third candle in half? And how did it take me so long to surface these mysteries? 


Jeanne said...

These are the candles your mother lit when you and your sister were squabbling, in hopes that the saint of reconciliation would help to clear the air. Since she didn't have very many to start with, having acquired them from your great-aunt, who made a trip to Spain, she cut one in half so she wouldn't run out.