Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh Hanukkah Candles, Where Art Thou?

Some time Tuesday night, it occured to me that Hanukkah was coming up and I didn't have any candles. While 3 days might seem like plenty of time to buy candles, We are actually leaving this morning on vacation so that left Wednesday to track down the festive lights.

One day - no problem. It's times like this that I am glad I work in Charlotte. Surely it should be easy to track down something simple like Hanukkah candles in a large, cosmopolitan, urban environment like Charlotte - a city which is home to the largest reform Jewish congregation in all of the Carolinas?

When I lived in NY, Hanukkah candles could be puchased at numerous locations. Overpriced, hand-dipped beeswax candles were standardly available at everything from overpriced stationery and gift wrap stores like Kates to your basic Hallmark. Even generic candles were available at the drugstore. You didn't have to think about it.

Not so in Charlotte. I called 3 Hallmarks in the vicinity of my office (which is an upscale part of town). All 3 had no candles - although one did have a menorah (why you have a menorah and no candles is beyond me). I didn't know where the equivalent of Kate's was in Charlotte - not that they were guaranteed to have candles either. I had a brief moment of panic while I racked my brain trying to think of an easy solution that didn't involve me braving the South Park mall (would Neimans have them and if so, would they be affordable?).

Then it occured to me. Charlotte has the largest reform congregation in the Carolinas - surely the temple would have a Judaica shop and surely that shop sold candles?

As it turns out they do and they did. So I drove out to Temple Beth-El tp buy candles. I was disappointed that the only overpriced, hand-dipped candles they had were in an odd shade of purple. I prefer mutli-color so I can plan out elaborate color schemes over the course of 8 nights. But straight purple? Not for me. Perhaps the prettier ones sold out weeks before to more forethinking people who don't wait to the last minute.

As for me, I drove out the Judaica shop and all I got was this box of plain old generic Hanukkah candles.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...