And another one bites the dust. Another what? Another pink plastic cocktail pick.
A cocktail pick my father had sought out for its quality, its heft, its ability to be washed and re-used notwithstanding its plastic-ness. A cocktail pick completely unlike the skimpy, translucent-green, single-use ones purveyed in bars and on airplanes.
He wasn’t a yeller but neither was he given to suffering in silence when something displeased him, en famille. But among friends? That, it seems, was another matter.
Not being at the scene of any of the recurring crimes — guests absent-mindedly snapping one of these Entirely-Re-usable-Dagnab-It cocktail picks — all I have is a hearsay report about my father’s reaction.
He tries not to wince.
The witness — my mother — was generally reliable, so let’s go with that.
This week I was reminded of that decades-old story when the Big Guy’s martini glass came back with its pink plastic cocktail pick as usual . . . but with one leg (foot?) busted. (It was, of course, merely a tragic accident.)
And that in turn reminded me of a recent interaction. One sibling had sent along a photo of a pheasant phrolicking in their super-urban backyard, and another said,
“Do you remember how Gram hated these guys
because, in winter, they would come up out of the river valley
and dig up and eat her bulbs?”
Um, no. No, I don’t. Among other things, I remember:
- Eating her fried chicken
- Watching fireworks from her living room during the Stampede
- Learning from her how to grow sweet peas as nice as the ones along the side of her house
- Seeing her adjusting a chiffon scarf over her nose and face before venturing out into a wintry zephyr, the better to prevent an asthma attack, my dear
But I have no memory of a blood-feud between Gram and the pheasants.
None of us knows the whole story of our grandparents or, even, our parents. We each hold a unique subset of memories driven by the happenstances of our interactions, the fit or lack-of-fit between us, the time we are graced to have together, and our own interests.
And really, how nice it is that their stories *are* widely and idiosyncratically held, making, if you like, a not-entirely random but completely unpredictable sprinkling of shooting stars across the night sky when something lights up a memory.
Parents, grandparents, now gone from this earth forever
to be a warm memory in a song,
a familiar place on a drive,
or maybe recognizable
from a favorite smell in the kitchen or garden.
– Brett Wilburn Photography
Or, maybe, a broken pink cocktail pick.