Friday, January 15, 2010


Today I purchased a purple candle on sale. It was a guilty pleasure bought at a very reasonable price that makes me smile just thinking about it. After all, candles aren't fattening, extravagant, or even necessary...unless, of course, your power is out. Part of the appeal, though, was the color purple.

Granted, a critically acclaimed movie by the name "The Color Purple" exists...a movie that I understand is good...but I've never caught randomly nor did I remember to put it on my queue when I had Netflix. But this week alone...both Danny Glover and Oprah have disappointed me with their it is unlikely I'll be renting it anytime soon. However, if I understand it correctly...the color was associated with abuse and pain. Perhaps the whole "Barney the Dinosaur" thing was just an extension of that pain. That is my personal belief anyway.

My experience with the color purple is nothing like that. It is the color of most of the violets that I fell in love with in honor of my grandmother. Granted, there are pinks and whites...but the majority of them range from the palest lavender to the deepest royal purple. Violets surround me at work each day...and make me feel somewhat at home in that environment. They do adore the fluorescent lights, you know. Gammy had violets in her home for as long as I can remember, and she would keep them by the window and talk to them. Apparently they liked the attention.

Purple reminds me of the horrible grape bubble gum that I would ride my bicycle to Sing's Food Store to purchase along with an Icee on Saturday afternoons after the cartoons were over. Later I purchased Blow Pops in grape and Now or Laters and Jolly Ranchers before school as a treat to help me survive junior high.

Purple was the color of my friend Dee's bedroom growing up. I can still remember being at her house and playing games of jacks, walking on the big rocks and learning that basenji dogs shed real tears.

It was also one of my two favorite colors...along with orange...which in combination screamed "could your taste be more 1970s?" I remember that Donny Osmond's favorite color was purple, and that this fact seemed to be of prime importance to the people writing for Tiger Beat magazine. I should know...I read enough of them. And while I wasn't a true Donny fan...I did understand the appeal.

Purple was a color reserved for royalty...a rich color unusual enough to catch the eye. I knew nothing of royalty other than the Burger King and the Dairy Queen because this was before Charles and Di hit the scene. It didn't stop me from watching Disney movies and seeing the color splashed on the screen whirling around the princesses. I was not always the best movie-goer though...I had to be consoled after seeing the forest fire scene in "Bambi" and I don't think I particularly enjoyed "Fantasia" either.

But in childhood, purple was the color of blackberry juice on my fingers after picking wild berries in the amazingly hot Georgia sun. It was the color of the prettiest Easter eggs dyed with the Paas kit we purchased every year. It was the one time that I could count on being allowed in the kitchen to do something other than put ice in the tea glasses or to get silverware.

It was the color of an unfortunate shirt that I owned but never dared to wear somewhere in the land of discowear and Farrah Fawcett wings. It would have matched the Candie's shoes I had in my closet that I only wore occasionally...a fashion "fail" of major proportions.

Purple later became the color of Willie Wonka, Elizebeth Taylor's eyes, and animals won at the fair. We drank Nehi grape soda...after which we sported little purple moustaches and ran in little sugar induced circles until we were dizzy. It was the color of the cheap Monopoly properties that I always purchased and the ones around the corner that I always wanted but rarely landed on.

Prince came along and sang about "Purple Rain" and was apparently enamored with the color as well. Although he sang of "Raspberry Berets" and "Little Red Corvettes"...he never fooled me. He wore purple ruffled shirts and eyeliner and embraced the royal image of his a big and somewhat unfortunate way.

Later, purple was the prominent color of Wesleyan College and represented the class below us that we initiated well. It was one of the main colors of my wedding china that I am pleased to own but rarely use. Later, it became a diversion from the endless pink that I dressed my baby girl in and lavender was a color in of the Beatrix Potter motif I had in her nursery.

As she grew, Jill began to see purple as a "lucky" color for her. She wore a purple ribbon in her hair the years that she made cheerleading...even though the school colors are red and blue. I assure you that one day...there will be purple accents in her wedding flowers...just in case. She recently purchased a purple cocktail dress that she hasn't had occasion to wear yet. I suppose that I'm okay with that for now.

Purple is a color that can be warm or cool...light or dark...regal or playful depending on the hue chosen. It is the color of morning sunrises and beach sunsets. It is the color of pansies, eggplant and grapes. It occurs naturally in nature...but is still unique enough to take your breath away. I love purple although it is not my favorite color. It is just different enough to be special and just familiar enough to be comforting. Like an old friend...

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