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Something About Candlelight

June 29, 2005

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. The storm was, though. Real bad. It came out of nowhere like an angry bull and riled up the trees and the sky went green and the power went out. We'd just sat down at the kitchen table, all five of us, and I was glad it all started after I'd finished cooking. STAY WHERE YOU ARE, I said and went and got candles and there we sat eating fajitas and Mexican rice by candlelight. I grabbed batteries, too. Four size D and slipped them into the boombox so we could listen to the show. Which we did. And we laughed and laughed and I served lemon meringue pie and grapes and we all talked at once and I had to turn up the volume on the radio more than once.

There's something about candlelight you can't deny. It slows things down and lights one's countenance from a different, more honest angle. Candlelight strips away a layer or two and you can see, all lit up, what a person is about. Precious Bryant enjoys candlelight, I imagine. She sang a song called "I Like the Truth" and those were about all the words in the song. I like her the way I like Mark Twain, who said if you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything. We need people like that, you know. People with memorable names who say it like it is and give us pause to see the shadows and hollows the way a candle does.

Then there was Mr. Dworsky's "Atlanta Twilight Waltz" which made my chest ache and brought tears to my eyes while I cleared the table. Mr. Sundberg was in the leather chair in the living room reading Peter Pan to the kids. They're a bit old for it, I was thinking, but then thought, no. You're never to old to be read to, no matter what the story. I could see through the doorway the candle flickering and Mr. Sundberg's shadow on the wall and the shadows of the kids all bigger than life, their heads tilted up, their chins resting on the palms of their hands, elbows balanced on their crossed legs. The table was clear and the dishwasher was full and I closed my eyes and waltzed myself around the kitchen while the thunder rumbled and the candle flickered and Mr. Dworsky played on, background music for a shadow's story.

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