Who are the Pickled Lilies?  you ask. well if you had read “Why me? a memoir” chapter 6 you would know. We are group of  fourteen diverse women who belong or once belonged to the same fitness club.After our workout or walk it has been a tradition  for over 30 years to have a coffee and share gossip and laughter at the Pickle Barrel Restaurant.

It has also been a tradition for a number of years for us to have a three day getaway at our family cottage. No men, kids or dogs allowed. It was at the cottage that we officially became the Pickled Lilies.  Most of us had read or were reading “the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya  Sisterhood” written by Rebecca Wells and published in 1996. We decided we too should have a name. Sitting by the lake , and being a little tipsy from drinking sangria, while watching the water lilies swaying gently in the breeze it hit us –we would be known as the Pickled Lilies, or by the abbreviated version, the PL’s.

But alas , good things come to an end and because of various circumstances we were unable to have our traditional cottage gathering  for a few years. But this year was different- we reinstituted  our three day retreat.

Some things never change. The Lilies insisted on doing the shopping, meal planning and cooking. Who am I to complain? It is nice to be pampered.  However some things do change. Our meals were not as elaborate as they once were. We used to take pride in homemade gastronomical delights, such as oven roasted root vegetables drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with all kinds of fresh herbs. This year we just threw sweet potatoes in the micro wave and instead of steaks on the barbecue  we opted for barbecue chicken from Costco one night and barbecued  hamburger patties purchased  from Costco the second night. However we didn’t starve and everything tasted wonderful. Like previous years the first thing on the agenda was to make the sangria. However this is the first year that we added bottled Sangria to make it go further and extend its life.

A lot of our circumstances have changed. Some of us have lost our spouses. One of the PL”s is in a nursing home and another has a husband in a healthcare facility suffering from the horrible affliction of Alzheimers disease. There were eight of us this year plus two who came for the day. We missed Tara G. who  is recuperating  at home from recent bypass surgery. We also missed her cranberry martinis  and broschetta

I predicted that the first to arrive would be Jenna and Ellen S. and lynn. I was right.They are always early.I was upstairs when I heard the door open.I came down and was greeted with “Look she is still in her pajamas. Well I wasn’t in my pajamas .I was dressed to impress in  what i thought was a pretty colourful dress. I told them this and Jenna said ” oh I have a shmatta {rag} like that at home.” You have to understand that over the years we have learned to push each others buttons, usually, but not always in jest!

Next to arrive was the bulk of the food accompanied by Merle, Eve, Ella and Candy. Candy was carrying the box from Costco and promptly spilled the red juices from the burgers all over  the floor. Our two day guests , Tara L. and Sherry arrived. We cleaned the floor while Eve assembled the sangria. After lunching on party sandwiches and the sangria we headed down to the beach. Someone walked into the small beach bunky to use the washroom. She didn’t use it because there was white foam and mysterious black crud floating in the toilet. What was it? We had no idea. I called my neighbour who happens to be the mayor to ask him if he would mind taking a look. He did us a favour and came over. He solved the mystery by saying someone cleaned the washroom and threw  the soapy water from the bucket into the toilet and  didn’t flush it.We opted not to use that bathroom, for fear it might overflow and instead trudged many many times back up the hill to the main cottage to use the facilities.

last time prior to the lilies visit there was a sighting of an otter. A few of the ladies went for a swim the first day.Those of us on the beach never told the swimmers about the otter. our favourite saying was You”otter” go into the water. We would break into peals of laughter. The swimmers thought we were nuts. This year my kids encountered a beaver hanging out by the dock.I  told the swimmers but not until we were already in the water. Actually the water was beautiful, wet and warm. This was the hottest week of the season and maybe  a record was set for temperature and humidity. Candy claims she was bitten by a fish. Three bathing beauties came running out of the water. At least we didn’t encounter the beaver or the otter.

There were  other minor casualties as  well. Ella had a headache. Eve got her rear end stuck in a swimming  tube. When she climbed onto the dock, we pulled on  the tube . It came loose and dropped into the lake.  A ski boat had just gone by and caused turbulent waters. The tube started floating rapidly across the lake with Jenna and myself in hot pursuit, huffing and puffing..We finally caught it and brought it back to shore just as Eve came with a rake to try to retrieve it. A little too little a little too late.  The next day Eve got her same rear end stuck in the same tube. This time we refused to help her.

Ellen S. had a  couple mishaps. Her lounge collapsed with her on it, not once but twice,  and she had an allergic reaction to something that affected her eyes.When she wasn’t busy dealing with her mishaps, the rest  of us would amuse ourselves watching her cat nap and listen to her gentle snoring. She was completely oblivious to the rest of the world.We were jealous . There were other complaints- tingles and cramps and other oddities that come with age.

Our chronological age has increased substantially, but our maturity hasn’t. In fact our emotional and mental maturity seems to have regressed. Soon we will be in our second childhood. Our language used this week at the cottage would shock our grandchildren and we giggle at the stupidest things. We love to laugh and rehash our past escapades and adventures.We never fail to amuse ourselves and we are our own best audience. This amusement is probably enhanced from the effect of the  sangria or red wine or whatever we happen to be drinking at the moment.

Speaking of the sangria, I went into the kitchen and there was the delicious drunken fruit from the sangria sitting in a bowl.Everybody else was at the beach. I couldn’t resist.I started eating the saturated orang slices and didn’t see Candy come in.She started to yell at me. “Put that back we need that fruit to add to tomorrows sangria. “  I knew that but I didn’t think anybody would notice a few missing orange slices and I didn’t know Candy would come to spy on me. She then went to the beach and told the rest of them about my transgression. I was so mortified about my sin that I couldn’t look anybody in the eye for about a minute. I got even with Candy ..she told me that she intended to stay down at the beach the longest so that the others would have the table set and dinner prepared. I told the rest of the group and her plot was foiled.

In the evenings we played Mahj Jong, Canasta and bridge. Some of us played better than others and some of us let that fact be known. Other years we often went on outings to neighbouring towns, but this year we were content to just stay at the cottage.

All in all it was a great few days. I apologize to my cottage neighbours. We were probably loud and obnoxious as usual, worse than the teenagers.

I appreciate my friendship with the lilies . We truly are a sisterhood. we have gone through life phases at approximately the same time-the trials and tribulation of child rearing, menopause, family weddings and divorces and deaths of loved ones. We mourn as a group.We take each loss personally and share in the joy of personal and family accomplishment of our sistersNo matter what age we are, females  need female friends. I hope my granddaughters take time out from their phones, computers  etc. to cultivate real  friendships. Friends are  an asset especially as one ages. Here’s to the pickled Lilies -Keep on laughing. I’ll drink a cup of Sangria to that and then eat all the orange slices.

I will attempt to add photos if I can figure out how to post them


About epsnider

EP Snider’s dream came to fruition when she published a book at age 69. She continues to share her thoughts and stories with a humorous twist on Wordpress and Facebook.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I remember the Lilies from “Why Me?”, Elaine. I did so enjoy the revisit with them today. I have always wanted to belong to a group like that. I have no group friends. I have dear friends scattered all over the world, but they don’t know each other. I am their only common link. You are fortunate in yours. I haven’t read “the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood”, but I did see the movie and LOVED it. I must apologize for being so far behind on my blog reading. I may never be able to catch up. BTW, I’d have eaten some of the orange slices too. (who could resist?) 😀


  2. epsnider says:

    Thanks Elizabeth .Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to comment on this post. I forwarded this to my pickled friends and it made their day. Their heads swelled a little and now they are saying jokingly or maybe not so jokingly that a movie should be made about our unique group.Some of them have already chosen what actress should portray them!

    You are blessed with so many blogging buddies who really care about you. I never cease to be amazed by the number of followers you have. take care.

    Hugs Elaine


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s