Apparently, ever since they've had candles to light for yahrzeit memorial, my grandparents have been saving the little glasses after the candles burn out. They rinse the glasses and use them for drinking.
I can just see them, in all of their wisdom as children of immigrants during the Great Depression, saying "Nu, vy should ve vaste perfec'ly gud glass? Is still useful, no?"
The funny thing is, yahrzeit candles are small, only slightly bigger than tea candles. The only way they could really use those glasses would be for taking shots.
I'm sure it goes something like this: "May my mother, of blessed memory, rest in peace and may her soul rise up to heaven, if we believed in that sort of thing, L'CHAIM!" *takes a shot of vodka*
There's more to it than humor though, drinking from the empty shells of memorial candles. It just goes to show, once again, that memorial rituals are for the living, not for the dead.* And why should the living waste the glasses once the ritual is over?
See, the ritual, not the memories are made of candles and jars. Saving the glass and drinking out of does not blaspheme the memory; it's another way to move on. We remember not only on the yahrzeit and on Yom Kippur. So, how does it sanctify the memory by throwing the glass in the garbage?
There's more than this, but it's not coming just yet. Maybe later...
*I went into more detail on that in this column: http://www.gtweekly.com/columns/real-estate