1219. Candles and husbands
© Bruce Goodman 12 January 2018

Ivanna was a cemetery visitor. She had buried three husbands over the years and each year on the same day she visited their graves to say a prayer and light a candle. Not that she was allowed to leave a candle burning in the cemetery but Ivanna was not one to be over fussed by rules.

Ivanna liked to light all three candles with a common flame. It provided some sort of unity to the remembrance, as if to say that each consecutive husband didn’t mind his position being usurped after his death. Lighting three candles from the one flame was her way of acknowledging that acceptance.

The trouble was that all three husbands were buried in three different cemeteries and each a few miles distant from the other. Not to worry. Ivanna always brought four candles; one for each grave and a fourth to transfer the common flame by car to the next cemetery.

The first candle was lit. Ivanna set off for the next husband, carrier candle aflame and car windows tightly shut. It’s not impossible to drive with just the one free hand.

The second candle was lit. Ivanna set off for the third husband, carrier candle aflame and car windows tightly shut. It was then that Ivanna was stopped by a policeman.

“What are you doing driving along with just the one free hand and the other holding a lighted candle?” asked the policeman.

Ivanna explained her little ritual to the very nice man and he smiled and said it was a dangerous thing to do but if she left her car on the side of the road he would take her to the next graveyard himself in his police car. So he did that, and they did it every year after. They've been married for eleven years now.

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