The Nose Knows.
by Diane Haynie
(San Diego, California)
It is impossible for me to smell a bayberry candle and not be immediately transported back to all those childhood Christmases many years ago.
My mother, who was a history fanatic, used to burn a bayberry candle in the sink all day long on Christmas day. Why the sink? For safety reasons, of course. And why bayberry? Tradition says that burning a bayberry candle would bring good luck throughout the coming year; at least that's what she told me. By the way, she also cooked a pot of black eyed peas on New Year's Day for the same reason.
Christmas was a special time in our home. I was not aware of the fact that my parents were struggling each month to put food on the table and that certainly did not show during the holidays. We had traditions that were honored year after year and included the obligatory reading of "The night before Christmas" with all four of us dressed in new jammies. We had stockings, a snack for Santa, bedtime prayers and large family gatherings. But the one thing I remember the most is that damn bayberry candle!
My mom is gone now. But a Christmas does not go by without me remembering all the many things she did to make those holidays special for my siblings and myself. While I do not place a candle in the sink and I do not keep it lit all day long, I do purchase a bayberry candle every year. I can't help myself...once the nostrils pick up that scent, I am 8 years old again and it's Christmas time!