Friday, January 15, 2010


A thing of ridicule to many: a work of art to others.

"You see," Lilly said, trying to explain her fascination with the candle shaped like an owl she was clutching as we stood at the end-cap in Target, "It's a candle AND it's an owl! I HAVE to have this!"

Mmmm. No. I did not see. It was a crappy little tchotchke the kind you find sitting on the back of the toilet in your Grandma's house. I said something to that affect.

"Exactly!" Lilly was thrilled I'd finally seen the intrinsic value of the object of her desire, "I LOVE little old lady stuff!"

"I don't know if you should have candles in your room, honey."

She looked at me as if I were nuts, "I'm not going to LIGHT it! Then it would be gone! I'm just going to keep it."

Since she is only eleven this is kind of odd. I guess there are old souls and then there is Lilly--she has an old-people-stuff soul.

I could see she really did want it, but alas, as she stood clutching the owl candle she must possess, she did not have enough money for it. I told her she could save up for it.

"But MOM! It won't still be here when we come back! It's on sale! And look, there are only," she paused to count, "Eighteen left! There's no way there will be any left when we come back!"

I assured her they would not exactly be flying off the shelf but she did not believe me. For days she alternately worked to earn money and warned me that if we didn't get back there soon those precious owl-candles would be sold out.

I first became aware of this little-old-lady thing she has going when we were on a charity dog-walk last summer, raising money for the bunny shelter she works at. In front of us was a woman with her dog. The woman was in her late 60s I'd guess, long silver braid down the middle of her back, gauze skirt, Birkentsock sandals. You know the look. Lilly nudged me and pointed at her, "See that! That's what I want to look like when some day. AND I'm going to have twenty cats and ten dogs."

Is it normal to aspire to be a cat-lady? I thought it was something you sort of accidentally became after everyone you know dies and your rotten grandchildren stop checking in on you. I pointed out that she would probably not have a husband if she went that route. She shrugged. Whatever.

When she finally had saved enough money for the owl-candle she made me promise we would go to Target that next weekend which we did. Much to my surprise the owl candles had been a big hit. There were only three left. "See, Mom! I TOLD you these would be big sellers. You know why?"

"Yes," I recited dutifully, "Because it's a candle AND an owl."

For Christmas I found the perfect gift for her. Soap on a rope shaped like a pig. She opened it and held it aloft with delight. "Look Grace, it's a pig AND it's soap! We can hang this in our bathroom and NEVER use it!"

I have no idea how she instinctively knew what to do with soap-on-a-rope--she's never seen it before, but somehow, like a little-old-lady savant, she knew you hang it up and never use it!

The pig will look great in the girls' new bathroom and since she'll never use it, it will last for years, which is great because some day she can hang it in her cat-lady-house bathroom.


  1. Maybe I should give Lilly the e-mail address of a lady I teach computer classes: she has five street cats.

  2. Whoa! Bring Lilly to Auntie Mary's basement. And bring LOTS of garbage bags!

  3. I am LOL-ing! Lilly is very cool. I love her spirit and self-confidence. She knows what she likes!

  4. Do I have animal shaped candles or soap-on-rope in my bathroom? You realize in reading's all about me. We love our old/young soul Lilly.

  5. wow! I love the statement: I have to have this!!!
    it is great!!!