Friday, October 22, 2010
The Holy Halloween Candle Story
My cousin Charlotte called last night. She said she and Nancy were talking and she remembered the story of the holy Halloween candle, and the two of them decided that she should tell me. So she called, and here is the story, as close as I can make it to Charlotte's telling:
“I don't think you ever went to my house in Tracy. It's an ordinary three-bedroom one-story wood framed house, and it's on a tree-lined street. The whole street is lined with Modesto ash trees.
“Tracy was just a small town when I moved there back in 1977, only about twenty-five thousand people, but now it's grown so much, with condos and shopping malls. There are about 100,000 people there now.
“Around the corner from my house was the Parker Avenue Market, a little mom and pop store. When Nancy and I were kids visiting at Grandma's she'd give us each a nickel and we'd walk to a mom and pop store a couple of blocks from her house for a Popsicle, so we have good memories and we're so fond of mom and pop stores.
“The house had a small front porch, just the tiniest porch, and every Halloween I got the biggest pumpkin I could find and carved it and put it out on that porch where the kids came to trick or treat.
“Well, this one year I went and got this huge pumpkin and I got it all carved and put it out on the porch and then I went to get a candle, and I couldn't find one! So I went to the Parker Avenue Market for a candle.
Parker's Market had every little thing you might need – light bulbs and milk and everything else, but when I got there they only had one candle left, and you know what it was? It was a holy candle. One of the ones in the glass holder.
“Well, here I am, this Christian Baptist Catholic Pentecostal girl looking at this holy candle, and what am I going to do? This is the only candle Parker's has left. So I made the sign of the cross, and I said, “Oh, Lord, please forgive me for this sacrilege.” Then I bought the candle and went back home and put the holy candle inside the pumpkin.
“Pretty soon kids started coming for candy. The little ones came early with their parents, and then as time went on the older kids came. There were a lot of trick or treaters in those days. I think I had close to a hundred and fifty of them.
“It got later, after 8:30, and they weren't coming any more so I decided to turn off the porch light and close up shop. I was getting ready for bed when all of a sudden I remembered the candle.
“Now you know I'm very safety minded, and I was careful with candles because it was a wood frame house with a tree hanging over it, so I didn't want to leave that candle out. So I went out to get the candle to put it away, and it was gone! It had been stolen!
“I never figured out who stole it or why – was it kids being pranksters because it was Halloween? Did someone need a candle? Did they take it because they thought using it in the pumpkin was a sacrilege? Were they just thieves?”
Whatever the reason, that's the only candle that was ever stolen from one of Charlotte's Halloween pumpkins. We'll never know why.
So that, dear hearts, is the story of the holy Halloween candle. Wishing you all a good Halloween however you observe it, and a blessed All Saints' Day on November 1, when we remember all who have passed from us this year and in the years past.