Thursday, December 17, 2015

About those candles

Think of this as a Throw Back Thursday with a modern day twist. I am writing this on a Thursday, after all.

It began like this: Many years ago we were invited to a late spring get together in Princeton. Though it was an evening event, Sam was included – a rarity for us. On the appointed evening we drove to the home and lo and behold, the front yard was lit with votive candles and luminaries. It was very lovely. There must have been 500 of them in every imaginable shape and size, lining the walkway, the porch, the borders of the property. There were candles everywhere.

Plot twist. Sam had a thing about candles. He didn't think they should be lit. Ever. As we emerged from the car, Sam escaped and quickly blew out about 10 or 15 candles. We quickly ushered him into the house and hovered between the backyard and the kitchen. Almost no candles in sight. A safe domain. Or so we thought.

Sam has the memory of an elephant, so it was no surprise when he grew agitated as the night wore on. "Blow out the candles" he plaintively repeated again and again. His anxiety level escalated. He was determined to get to the front yard. There were candles that needed to be blown out and he was the guy to do it.

Sensing an epic meltdown in the offing, I told Tony we needed to go. Now. I had a plan: take Sam around the side of the house, skirt the 500 candles and get into the car.

Sometimes the plan doesn't work.

We rounded the corner. Using his Houdini skill, Sam broke free. He quickly attacked the first bunch of votive candles. Then the next. I tried to pull Sam into the car. His superhuman strength kicked in. He had a mission. He was saving the world from luminary candles. It became increasingly clear we were not leaving until every candle was blown out.

There was only one thing to do. I needed to help. We divided and conquered the candles. All of them.

It's amazing how quickly you can extinguish 500 candles. Surprisingly no one came or left during the candle elimination process. Tony assessed the yard. He asked if I thought we should inform our host. I probably should have said yes. It would have been the polite thing to do. I instead chose the cowardly solution: make a quick get away. Maybe they'd think a big gust of wind had blown the candles out. Maybe they'd believe there were Martians on Mars.

The next day, Tony confessed and apologized to our host and explained our need to leave quickly without a proper goodbye.... and about the candles. Our host very nice about it. He claimed they didn't notice.

This all would have remained a dim memory were it not for an email that arrived yesterday afternoon: Tony forwarded to me an invitation to a New Years Day potluck party. In Princeton.

Princeton. Princeton. I had an instant flashback. Candles. Endless candles. Crazy people running around some guys front yard. Blowing out candles... I quickly shot back an email saying, "Is this candle guy's house??" Tony responded with a simple, "Yes."

Oh, my. What lovely people to include us again. I wonder if they still have all the candles.