Although this post will run after July 4th, I sit here on Independence Day remembering all the ways Mom LOVED this holiday. From fireworks, to hot dogs, to parades, to waving the flag, Mom was all in… particularly when it came to telling us for the 1000th time, the tale of Edith Pickles.
It seems that Mom’s uncle had a store and would set up a fireworks booth in front of the store to sell that merchandise. Mom and her cousin loved to get there early and handle the sales. But then came Edith Pickles.
“She was smoking a cigarette, “said Mom, making the gesture with her two fingers holding a make-believe Lucky Strike.
“Edith bent over and with the lit cigarette, motioned which fireworks she wants.”
“I’ll take this one, and that one,” said Edith as she waved the cigarette over the flammable arsenal.
“Bam!,” Mom said with excitement. “Everything started going off at once. Uncle George came running out, turning over the table and trying to find a hose to put out the rockets. And a little old lady across the street said , ‘Why don't you wait until it’s dark?’ “
With a flair for the dramatic, Mom pulled back her hair to show us a tiny scar where a Roman candle had whizzed past her head.
We’d show great concern and marvel at her ability to stay upright and tell such a horrifying tale…year, after year, after year.
Edith Pickles is a story that we kids laugh about and remember every 4th—even though Mom is no longer with us.
I’ll bet you have an “Edith Pickles” story in your family history. You know: some quasi-dramatic event that a relative insists upon repeating over and over again—even when that relative can no longer remember much else. There’s something sweet about these little stories that connect past and present, becoming almost code language for a connection that defies description. I’d like to think we honor those Edith Pickles sagas.
I’d love to hear your story. Do write me!