By G. E. Shuman
It’s strange how some things that used to be commonplace just aren’t around anymore. Cassette tapes, TV guides, phone books, and even CDs have all but disappeared now, to say nothing of buggy whips, ice boxes, milkmen, and mustache wax. Not that anyone needs any of those things these days. Which, I’m sure, is the reason they are gone.
Still, one thing that seems to have slipped away into the night, at least from our area, is the simple, old, reliable, long tapered candle. An item like that is all but obscure in the first place, and the fact that all but a few basic colors of them can no longer be found in Central Vermont is not life-changing or world-shaking. Evidently, no one misses the seasonal ones. To me, it still seems strange.
My attention was recently drawn to this change in the availability of something that has always seemed as common as dirt. My wife and I went on what ended up being a fruitless, or candle-less quest to every chain store in the area looking for simple orange seasonal tapered candles for a fall table setting she was trying to put together. (Since recently retiring we tend to find ourselves on such quests quite frequently. I have no idea why.) What we found this time was that no matter how many fall-Halloween-Thanksgiving decorations were displayed in the stores, no one had orange tapers.
I thought this was odd, to say the least, and began wondering if there were some good reason seasonal tapered candles seem to be no longer sold in our neck of the woods. Was there some connection between candles and drug paraphernalia, or were they being used as weapons of torture or terror devices? Are they banned from airplanes? Actually, I think they are. And, who would take a candle on an airplane in the first place? (It’s surprising what goes through your mind, or at least through my mind after checking every big box store, drug store, and local retail chain for something as simple as fall tapered candles.)
During my early employment years, those things were everywhere. As a recovering former retail manager, I can attest to that. You could get 8”, 10”, and foot-long ones in fall shades, in black for Halloween, then in red and green for Christmas, complete with Santas and snowmen on them, and even pastel pinks and yellows for around Easter time. (I know that I know way too much about all this minutia and that none of it is important. Minutia never is… I wonder if I have a problem.) I also know that tastes change, and if an item doesn’t sell it gets snuffed out. Ha.
Evidently, and without notice, seasonal colors of tapered candles have become less and less popular over the years, until, alas, like cassette tapes and phone books, they have all but disappeared into the night. (Still, that’s a strange thing for a candle to do, don’t you think?)