Today at the Tractor Supply, a youngish man came in, wearing a dirty Carhartt bibs. He'd been working hard, and he looked darn tired. He bought some hardware, but he also bought, surprisingly, a candle. It was one of our novelty candles, and it is molded into a little cast iron skillet. He touched it with his big calloused hands as I rang up his things. "I been wanting one of these," he said. "Did you ever smell one?" I said, "Yes, I like walking past the aisle. It smells pretty nice in that corner." He insisted. "Did you ever smell this one, though?" So, to please him, I took a whiff of it. Vanilla Pumpkin. Smelled like a pumpkin pie. "It is nice," I agreed. He said, "I've wanted that candle since the first time I smelled it."
You know, you can tell when people are lonesome, sometimes. They make small talk. They want to talk. Even if it's a cashier in the Tractor Supply. He took his chainsaw accessories, and his candle and he headed for the door. I pictured him sitting by himself in his kitchen, eating a late supper in his kitchen, smiling quietly at his memories as his pumpkin pie candle burned in its little cast iron skillet.