Yesterday was my father’s ninety-sixth birthday. I never had any intention of putting candles on the cake, but my brother brought four boxes of 24 birthday candles which added up to exactly 96, so it seemed a fitting sign. Besides, there didn’t seem to be very many of them when they were sitting side by side so innocuously in the boxes. Luckily (or maybe unluckily) we had fireplace matches, which are about eight inches long, otherwise those candles would never have been lit. Still, it took four people to light the candes before they burnt out.
Once the candles were lit, they became a single flame, so I never did get to see ninety-six tiny candle flames cheerfully paying homage to all those years.
As my brother said, “In retrospect, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.” Next year, we’ll get the candles with numbers, but when my father hits 100, we’ll go for 100-candlepower, but maybe a bigger cake . . .
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+