A picklish situation


Mom week continues…

Once or twice before I’ve mentioned my long-standing reluctance with having my picture taken (along with a natural lack of interest in owning a camera).  I can’t say for sure if the following event started it, but it’s possible.

Shortly after Dad got remarried, Mom also entered into a new set of nuptials.  This was an ill-fated affair that did not last long (thankfully), but the wedding was a beautiful and well catered affair.  Or so I must assume, since I was about four at the time and I can only remember the following incident.

You’ve heard me talk about the spreads I like to have for my barbecues.  These are direct descendents from years of watching Mom host parties, for which the quantity of food always exceeded the guests by a factor of about five.  Planning a wedding reception, I’m guessing that factor might have reached ten.

For those of you reading this who are Moms, if you have sons you can identify with the difficulties of getting your little munchkin costumed up in a suit and tie for a formal event.  I would not presume to detail the process my Mom went through, my memory doesn’t extend to that depth, but I know how fussy I was back then, so I feel secure in saying Mom struggled to get me into my monkey suit.

But there I was, amidst people two (or three?) times my height, wandering around and just about tall enough to see the tops of the tables where the food was placed.  I imagine I was quite pleased with a number of the selections and also quite hungry, because I know I began putting up a fuss about eating.  I had noticed a table with some of my favorite bite-size foods, olives and pickles, and wanted to eat some.

Mom, resplendent in her dress and accepting congratulations and warm wishes, no doubt politely informed me that we were not yet ready to eat.  Even today, I struggle with rejection, but at the tender age of four, I only knew one means of dealing with my frustration:  start crying.  Today, thanks to the benefit of years of experience and wisdom, I can calmly accept the rejection, move on with my life and wait until I’m somewhere private before crying.

Mom tried all sorts of things to get me to stop crying, I’m sure equal parts mortified over my embarrassing her and concerned over my emotional scarring.  Offers of allowing me to eat no longer held any sway over me as I was now totally immersed in my misery.  One can only hope the suit was not dry clean only.

Finally, in an immortal moment someone had the uncanny ingenuity to catch on film, Mom was able to finally bring me back from the “dark side” by offering me a pickle.  The picture, forever emblazoned in my memory, is that of a pretty lady in a wedding dress crouching down near a piano with her arm extended holding a pickle out to the back of a very young boy in a suit facing the other way with his hands in his eyes.  But the pickle did the trick and, to the (I imagine) great relief of all, the party was able to continue undisturbed to its happy resolution.

I spent the next 40-plus years avoiding being in a photo, though I’m sure I never saw that particular shot until I was in my teens.  And as far back as I can remember, from that reception on, Mom always had pickles and olives at every party.

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