A Birthday Candle


I lit a candle on my birthday. I met my oldest girl at this old fort and mission in Goliad, Texas where her 7th grade was having a Texas History field trip. The Presidio La Bahia is a very interesting place to visit especially on a sunny April day. After we sat in the chapel and listened to the history of the Presidio and the story of the Goliad Massacre, we were free to move about and tour around. I moved into the enclave on the side of the chapel as everyone left the chapel. I stared at the candles. A basin of holy water was to my right. Before I could think or pray or feel anything, I felt myself turn around. My hands grabbed the matches, and I struck the match and watched the candle come to life.

I felt a little sheepish. Mom…I lit it for her. It was my birthday, but I lit it for her.

For all those 37 birthdays she sang to me in the morning.

For all those birthdays she tried to make me feel special.

For all those parties she threw me. There weren’t many. There were six of us, so we could only have a “friend party” every six years. This staggered it out for my parents. Brilliant, don’t you think? So, I had a slumber party on my sixth, my twelfth, and a big party on my 18th. The rest of the birthdays we just had our family which was quite a party in itself.

I watched the flame flicker. I had less than a minute of reflection with that candle. Then I was overtaken with a need to find my daughter. I found her on the fort grounds. She was having fun. I had her climb into a gun holder place in the wall, and that was fun. She climbed a tree and got in trouble with the tour staff. I climbed the fort wall, but no one caught me.


We went over to the Goliad Mission, had lunch and then toured that place too. I lit another candle in the mission chapel. My friend Ann did too. There was a sign on the matches that there is high humidity and if they wouldn’t light to ask a staff member. This sounded like a challenge. I sure do like a challenge. It took us a few tries, but we got the job done. I liked lighting the candles together. It felt right. Like you are supposed to do church together and prayer too sometimes.

My mind wandered through my life, my mom’s life, her death and more.

It’s good to wander and flicker and see.

I recommend it.


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