Christmas Eve, 2020: Burning A "Bayberry" Candle, Lighting The Luminaries, And A Concert For The Pets
1. Burning a "Bayberry" Candle.
My mother always said, "On Christmas Eve burn a bayberry candle down to the socket to bring health to the body and wealth to the pocket."
But for my mother this was more than just a folksy little adage. Growing up there was always a bayberry taper burning in our home on Christmas Eve. My mother would light the candle in the morning to make sure it would be burned down before the day was done, and the candle had to be a bayberry; a pine or balsam-scented wouldn't do. I can't recall a Christmas Eve in my mother's home without a burning bayberry candle.
And so years later when my mom and my Aunt Mary - my mother's sister who lived with my mom and who my mom cared for - began spending Christmases with my family, it was likewise required that in my home a bayberry candle be burned down to the socket on Christmas Eve in order that we all might have health and wealth in the new year.
I recall that one year I forgot to procure a bayberry candle for Christmas Eve, much to my mom's dismay. Hence the day before Christmas Eve I was zipping around town looking for a bayberry candle, but there were none to be had. By a stroke of good fortune, however, it turned out that the mother of one of my daughter's boyfriends happened to have a bayberry candle on hand which she graciously gave to us. And so Christmas Eve was saved and we were assured another year of health and wealth.
After my mother and Aunt were no longer spending Christmases with me I let the burning of a bayberry candle on Christmas Eve fall by the wayside, trusting in other practices to keep us financially solvent and reasonably healthy. However this year I decided to resurrect the ritual, figuring that this year any possible way to coax some good luck out of the cosmos should be not be overlooked.
And so on December 8 I ordered a bayberry candle from Amazon and was informed that my candle would be delivered the following week. When it hadn't arrived by the morning of December 24 I resigned myself to burning an ordinary taper, knowing that it held no cosmic power, yet deciding to try it anyway on the chance that I might get some credit for my expenditure and labor and the fact that my lack of a real bayberry candle wasn't my fault.
My "bayberry" candle.
Then at around 10 pm a small package arrived on our porch.
Alas, it was too late to light my bayberry candle. It would never burn down to the socket by midnight.
But I lit it instead on Christmas morning, knowing that its purported powers were by then gone but, again, hoping that maybe I'd be granted token amounts of health and wealth - in fact, they can keep the wealth, I'd be glad for just the health - for my extra effort and intention.
We'll see how it goes in 2021.
2. Lighting the Luminaires.
Ever since we moved to this neighborhood thirty-three years ago we've taken it upon ourselves to line our block with luminaries on Christmas Eve. We made them from used glass baby food jars - does baby food come in glass jars any more? - and half-gallon milk bottles with a hole cut in the front. When our children were old enough to help, the Christmas Eve luminaries became a family affair, as it has continued to be for those who spend Christmas with us. When our grandchildren visiting from Los Angeles for the holiday were old enough they began lending a hand as well.
This year, COVID having kept us apart from all our children except, thankfully, our daughter who shares our living bubble but who was working this Christmas Eve,
...Tom and I were tasked with setting up the luminaries on our own,
...while Lucy watched us.
It was a beautiful, snowy, silent night,
...and lighting the luminaries on this Christmas Eve, a lonely one for too many of us, was a labor of much joy and love.
3. A Concert for the Pets
After we finished lighting the luminaires Tom and I came back inside for our Christmas Eve supper, which on Christmas Eves past has been a great and varied feast shared with family and friends,
...followed by singing.
This year Tom and I shared our Christmas Eve "feast" of pasta, shrimp and stuffed mushrooms at the kitchen table.
In the glow of the lights our house looked so pretty,
...but felt so quiet and empty.
But, thankfully, not for long. If our house could not be filled with people and live music this Christmas Eve, it would be soon filled virtually, as our son Tommy and his girlfriend Emily had invited us to a virtual Christmas Eve concert they were performing for the family.
At 8 pm the audience had arrived and the concert began.
Emily and Tommy sang rock songs, folk songs, Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs which we joined in singing.
Shortly after the music began people's pets began showing up,
...hanging around and stealing the show, as animals do.
I'm not sure I can explain exactly why the concert was so much fun, but it was.
In fact it was wonderful.
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTPN7NYY
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.