There is a candle dynasty around here, and its main headquarters is about an hour away in the Pioneer Valley. The sign, outstandingly visible from the highway, claims the location as “the scenter of the universe.” I drove by the place on my way to a wedding this past summer; it was a gorgeous summer saturday that one would imagine would involve lots of outdoor idyllic swimming and hiking and lazy grilling, but the endless span of parking lot around the candle factory was filled to the brim. I haven’t been inside the scenter of the universe, but I have had the opportunity to smell its many smaller branches scattered throughout surrounding counties, and although the combined smell of “frosty air,” “maple pancakes,”and “almond cookie” does create quite a sensory extravaganza, I marveled at the draw of Yankee Candle. At the time, I put it aside and sped on to my summer wedding, but the scented candle mystery continued to linger.
I have a memory for peculiar details, and just this week an entire smell experience popped into my mind. It must have been three years ago, and I was at a play date with Rosie. We walked in and stomped the snow off our boots as the mom rushed around the kitchen. She was in the middle of too many projects, she confessed, and she hadn’t gotten a chance to finish the breakfast dishes because a work call had just come in. “I was going to make muffins, but I didn’t get to it.” I remember that much, and I probably laughed with some comment about how she should have seen my kitchen right then and what a mess it all was. But here’s the moment that I remember most — she whipped out a candle in a jar, lit the wick, and set it on the counter. “That’s better,” she said, and although I already had a bit of a prejudice against the candle company in question, it was. The scent of pumpkin pie or some other thing wafted through the air and the house just felt warmer. . . . Read the rest of this entry →