The great birthday candle caper didn’t start out as an actual plan.
I was at home and about to head over to the South Hill nursing-care facility where my mother lives. I would be taking a small cake to acknowledge her 97th birthday. It had one candle.
Noting that my mother has always regarded birthday candles as a big deal, my wife suggested I bring a couple of matches. I mumbled something about setting off the sprinkler system inside the nursing home.
That could earn me a reputation I’d rather not have.
“Hey, there’s the guy who flooded the whole wing!”
I took a few matches anyway.
On the way over there, I thought about what my wife had said. She was right. My mother really is nuts about birthday candles. Loves them. I suspect she is not the only great-grandmother who feels that way.
So after getting to the nursing home, I asked about just how sensitive the smoke detectors/sprinkler activators are. Who I spoke with and exactly what was said is not something I am prepared to divulge. Let’s just say I got mixed signals.
What to do?
Look, I’m not someone who thinks rules are for other people. And I am fully aware of how things can go wrong seconds after some winking genius says “Oh, it will be OK — just this one time.”
I get why lighting a match in a nursing home would be verboten.
But it was my mother’s birthday and I wanted her to be able to blow out a candle.
For reasons I won’t go into, doing it outside wasn’t really an option.
I found myself thinking about my late brother. There’s no doubt about what he would have done.
He would have lit that candle and invited our mom to make a wish. Anyone who had a problem with that could discuss it with him later.
In the end, with a little encouragement, I made my own decision.
All I’m willing to say is that it went well and I promise to never do it again.
At least not until my mother turns 98 next May.
Today’s Slice question: How many people mentioned seeing your name in one of the newspaper’s public records lists?