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Ella and Olives

August 29, 2018 (187 words)

My mother had two enduring passions to the very end of her life: Olives, and the music of Ella Fitzgerald. So every birthday my father came through like clock-work with a can of black olives, a can of green olives, and another selection from the extensive catalogue of Ms. Fitzgerald’s recorded work.

In his defense, this was well before the roll-out of extensive “olive bars” that are now a staple in most local supermarkets. And more to the point, circumstances conspired in such a way as to leave him and my mother without two nickels to rub together for most of their all-important child-rearing years.

In any event, whatever the man may have lacked in gift-giving prowess, he more than made up for with a life-long demonstration of marital fidelity.

Despite repeated exposure in my formative years to this briny fruit that grows on the sunny hillsides of Italy, I never developed a taste for olives. But every time I hear Ella sing, it sounds like my mother is speaking to me.

Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr.
August 29, 2018

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