Lucky Money Candles

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So my husband and I went to Kelly’s over the weekend, and they had Lucky Money candles on the table. Those tall glass cylinders with the Native American headdress on the side, lots of “lucky” phrases and filled to the brim with green or blue wax. They were on all the tables, in various colors, red, pink, white, and black to ward off evil spirits. Most had burned down to the nub, which I suppose meant that money, love, luck and lots of happy spirits were floating about this smoky, burgundy vinyl booth-lined bar. Yeah, happy spirits like Jameson’s and Jack Daniels. Ha. Ha.

Kelly’s is our favorite drink hangout – it has the same vibe as The Village in Richmond, lots of dark wood, dark lighting, cozy. Except the crowd is much older, almost like the people who used to hang at The Village lifted themselves by the scruff of their necks and plunked down in Kelly’s Bar and Lounge.

The first thing I thought of as I ordered a vodka gimlet straight up and gazed into the watery blue wax ringed with black soot, the flame dancing about, was Kathryn. She had these in her store. I had sold these more often than I could ever forget, rolling each in old wrapping paper and taping it closed, placing it in a plastic shopping bag so it would make it safely back to whatever dorm room or hole-in-the-wall apartment it was going to. To be burned in hope. Night after night for hope. Or maybe just for light.

It was probably the gimlet, but I began to wax poetic to my husband about Kathryn Harvey. He’d never met her, and that still grinds away at me. I can’t get my mind around the fact that he will never know her, her warmth, her laugh. I can try and try to make him understand just how fucking fantastic she was, but all he can do is look at me and listen quietly, shaking his head. He understands, but I can see he doesn’t “get” it. You can’t really know a person until you actually spend time with them. The stories you tell, no matter how spellbinding or descriptive, can’t take the place of actual experience. This realization makes me want to stop writing, to stop trying. It all suddenly seems so pointless. So I order another gimlet. It makes me so sad that he will never know her. Just as my grandmother and my mother died before he could know them.

Like I had another life entirely before I met him, which I suppose I did. I just want him to know who I WAS, as well as who I AM. He’s a part of my life, he’s a part of me and my experience. I gazed into the blue candle looking for answers, and all it told me in its firey depths was, “Keep writing, you’ll figure it out.”

p.s. I did find out that Mimi Regelson still operates Exile which I find extraordinarily comforting somehow. As the behemoth of VCU grows around her, she’s holding her ground. Big Love Mimi.

One thought on “Lucky Money Candles

  1. Strange that you’re waxing poetic about “the past” – and I was part of that “pre-Bruce” life you referred to – and you also mentioned Mimi Regelson. I don’t know Mimi – but I do know her brother, Isaac. He’s great friends with Lee & Stacy Johnson, so I see him nearly every time I go back to Richmond. Also, you and I have talked a bit about this before, but it seemed fitting… The last time I was in Richmond, I went to The Village for the first time since it’s been on “the other side of Harrison.” Long time, huh? Peter Bell and I went and met some friends there after one of the Harvey services. We both felt so old (more like “seasoned”) and removed. While we were there, we ran into – “Patsi.” In reflecting, I thought it would have been comforting, and yet it was just plain, old uncomfortable. I mean, how much can you talk about stuff that happened 20 years ago with someone that you probably won’t see for another 20 years? And after all we went through and shared during high school – she was more interested in talking to Peter – a virtual stranger who was in a band that broke up 15 years ago. Guess her friendship wasn’t much of a friendship after all. But the funny thing is – is that I knew that already. 🙂

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