Sunday, April 17, 2016

teacup candles for two: the musical

It’s predictable: Every year I get excited about something new I plan to bring to the farmers market. This year is barely different, except this: I’ve grown two new selves.

Yes, over the winter, though perhaps it’s a lifetime, I have grown two new selves. These selves are not in and of themselves or together the new thing I am bringing to market, though I suppose there is no avoiding their tagging along, which might be for the best, now that I think of it—but I’m trying to stick to topic here lest all these selves scatter and chatter and we lose the point. Have you seen the “Three Faces of Eve”? My situation is not quite like that as Eve’s selves—Jane, Eve, and Eve I think they were called—came out one at a time, messing things up, while my selves stay within, living side-by-side all comfy-cozy inside my head or wherever, each well aware of the others, and their aim is to straighten things out. But who knows? Maybe there are more. Cecelia, Nanette, Barney Googleheimerschmidt. Who knows what they are up to.

Like previous years, I have no doubt that this something new I plan to bring to the farmers market will fly off the table—I can see it. It is so exciting. I’m doing a little dance there at the market because everyone loves this new something. If this self had a name it would be Optimism. But then—and this is unlike previous years—I also have no doubt I will be struck dumb when this new something does not fly off the table. Yes, I can see that too. I’m not dancing but standing there going “Huh. I thought these things would fly off the table.” If this self had a name it would be Reality. Reality is rarely foreseeable, but I have come to understand that one can make an objective analysis based on past experience and blah blah blah blah blah. Fortunately, I now also have this third self, the Omniscient One, who looks down from on high, sees old Optimism and new Reality, and takes pause. Waits a beat. Or two.

You see, I was in Vinnie’s, a thrift shop, the other day, down in the basement which is kind of dark, kind of a jumble, and I was taking a meandering journey through its narrow lanes shrubbed with stacks of junk and treasure when I saw on a low deep dusty shelf all these glass teacups. Rows and rows of glass teacups. Some with raised clusters of grapes and leafs, some with diamond patterns, cut glass, marvelous stuff. I picked one to buy, brought it home, poured beeswax into it (I’ll leave out the irksome part of trying to secure the wick and the technical part of determining the correct size of the wick), and watched it burn.

Oh. People are gonna love these glass teacup candles, I thought.

But no! At the end of the day I’m going to have 50,000 glass teacup candles that nobody loved but me and I’ll be standing there crying you fool! You fool!


OK. If people don’t love these teacup candles, I will. I’ll make a few, see how it goes.

The morning of the day I was heading back to Vinnie’s to buy more glass teacups the song “Tea for Two” popped in my head, began to jive. I sang it all the way to the river, as Josie and I took our morning walk, and discovered one could dance to it, too. What a wonderful song. It stuck with me most of the day, and I didn’t mind one bit.

So with a song in my heart and my feet on the ground, tappity-tap, I went back to Vinnie’s, bought some glass teacups, and I’ll tell you why they are so cool. They burn a long time (test candle 16 hours which would’ve gone longer but I won’t explain that here and now). They tunnel, leave a wall of wax around the flame, but if you just let the candle keep burning eventually that wall thins and disappears so the glow of the flame emerges ever brighter, and, at the end, there should be very little, if any, wax remaining. (But, as I have learned, that has a lot do with how an individual is using the candle, meaning the length of time the candle is burned each time it is lit. Beeswax likes to take it slow, likes to be allowed to burn without constant interruption. And maybe all that needs more explanation but, if so, email me or something.) And then—the empty teacup can be reused with a votive. Or as a vase for small spring flowers. Maybe a nice little candy dish at holiday time. Or, fill it with pebbles and shells collected along the seashore all year long. Or—buy two and use them for tea, there in your oasis.

“Tea for Two” the original (Marion Harris)
“Tea for Two” violin duet (Yehudi Menuhin and Stéphane Grappelli)
“Tea for Two” accordion duet (Jo Ann Castle and Myron Floren )
“Tea for Two” in Yiddish (Aelita Fitingof)
“Tea for Two” in the movie “Tea for Two” (Doris Day and Gordon MacRae)
Three “Tea for Two”s in one: Oscar Peterson, Johnny Costa, Art Tatum