THE POSTSCRIPT, Carrie Classon

 

My Aunt Ruthie used to make the best pickles ever.

Ruthie was my mom’s sister, and she died a few years back in a car accident that left us all sad and shaken and filled with memories. I remember her dry humor and her sharp intellect and her voracious reading habits. I remember her never-ending kindness and resilience. And I remember her pickles.

Ruthie always gave me a jar of pickles whenever she made them. They were a treasure. One year, the glass Mason jar filled with pickles broke in my purse, and having a vinegar-soaked purse was inconsequential compared to the fear I might waste Aunt Ruthie’s pickles. (I did not.)

I remember when I was young, my cousin was reading something I thought was stupid. (I had a lot of opinions back then about what was stupid.) I remember what Ruthie said to me.

“It doesn’t matter what she’s reading,” Ruthie said. “What’s important is that she’s reading something.” I felt a little ashamed, I remember, and I knew Ruthie was right.

And this was rare, a reprimand coming from Ruthie, which is why I remember the next one she gave me 30 years later.

I saw her, and she had not made pickles. Maybe the cucumbers had not cooperated. Maybe Ruthie was working on other things. Maybe she just lost interest in supplying every relative in her large family with pickles. A person does not need a reason not to make pickles, and yet I felt Aunt Ruthie owed me an explanation.

“Someone as good at making pickles as you should make pickles!” I told her.

“Someone as good at performing as you should perform,” she answered, without missing a beat.

This took me aback for a few reasons. The first, as I mentioned, was that Ruthie was always generous with her praise and sparing with her criticism. The second was that I had been a performer for years and was now working in business, which everyone seemed to think was a lot more practical.

And the last reason was that I honestly never thought I had a gift for performing. I enjoyed it. I became comfortable doing it. I worked hard at it so I could keep up with those better than me. But I never thought I was anything special.

This was a long time ago. I eventually left business and started writing. Writing gives me an enormous amount of joy. Like the performing I did earlier, it’s a way to connect with other people and, also like performing, I know I am not nearly as good as so many other writers.

But recently I got to thinking about performing again.

At first, I dismissed the idea. I was too busy writing. I had tried once before, right before the pandemic, and nobody got to see anyone perform for a long time. And finally, who wants to see a 60-something-year-old woman on stage? Performing is work best left to the young, I told myself.

But the idea grew as I waited for weeks that turned into months for a book to be sold. I thought what a wonderful feeling it would be to perform again, to do something I had some control over, to do something fun.

My performances will never rival Ruthie’s pickles. She really had a gift. But I have an opportunity to do a show this fall, and I am going to take it. I am always telling people to do what they love, after all. I figure if you get a chance to make pickles, you should.

To see photos, check out CarrieClassonAuthor on Facebook or visit CarrieClasson.com.

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