Volume 15, Number 85,

Do Angels Make Pickles?
by Bonnie Jarvis-Lowe

When my daughter was beginning her second year at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she moved from residence life to her own apartment, sharing it with a friend. We had found the perfect apartment building, close to campus, and very cosy and attractive. It was located at the end of a street that was lined with huge oak and elm trees, making it a pleasure to walk to class. She loved it.

Her parents’ concerns were of no consequence as we asked her about coming home from class after dark, walking down that very beautiful tree lined road was a different story when darkness fell. Anyone could hide behind the very trees and shrubs that were so beautiful in sunlight, but an excellent hiding place for anyone who wanted to pounce and assault the unsuspecting walkers. We were assured that all would be OK, because St. Mary’s University has what is called the ‘Husky Patrol’. This is a program that the popular St. Mary’s Huskies football team members and other students had developed. They worked in teams of two, a football player, or senior athlete, and a senior female student would make up each team. The ‘Husky Patrol’ would walk with the student if they lived off campus and had to return home after dark. It is a terrific program and worked well for the off campus students who needed the service. Heather assured us she would use the Husky Patrol when necessary.

However, one evening it was not quite dark when she headed for her apartment building with her backpack and books, feeling quite sure she would be safely in her building before it was really night. But it was late October, and evening came quickly. She soon found herself on the dark street, alone and scared. Halloweendecorations were everywhere and in looking at them she had wasted precious moments of daylight.

Then she had a feeling of being watched, she would turn to look, and all she would see would be a shrub or tree limb moving. When she picked up her pace the watching eyes, now accompanied by the sound of shoes on the dry autumn leaves, would pick up and move faster as well. Consequently she regretted leaving campus alone. She knew she was being followed and became terrified.

Heather, right from a very young age, was a problem solver. She never failed to come up with a solution to problems and obstacles that she and her friends would encounter. And she did not fail now. She knew she had to seek shelter, and get off this street as soon as she could. Assessing the situation, her heart pounding, and her knees weak, she noticed a small, cottage style house just a few doors up from her location. An inviting overhead light was on over the quaint entryway. She moved quickly toward the tiny house, still hearing the footsteps behind her. Mustering all the strength her athletic soccer-playing legs could conjure up, she walked smartly up to the house, turned the doorknob and found it was not locked. She opened the door and walked in, closing it behind her. Near tears by now she leaned back against the door. From her vantage point she could see three very ‘grand-motherly’ looking ladies in a small kitchen, each one very intent on her task. And that task was making pickles. The smell of vinegar and dill, the warmth of the little house and the reassuring presence of the ladies, calmed the upset young student.

“What can we do for you dear?” one of the women approached and asked. The lady was not at all surprised or perturbed at having somebody just walk in the house. Soon the three ladies had her sitting in the kitchen, and she told her story of being followed, her scare, and her need to find help. They listened to her story with rapt attention. Then they offered her a hot chocolate, and continued to reassure her that she was safe now with them and they would take her home.

When the pickles were all done, one of the women took her by the hand and led her outside to a late model car. She kept reassuring the frightened young woman, and drove her safely the rest of the way to her apartment tower. Heather was very grateful and said so many ‘thank yous’ that the adorable, elderly lady said she must be ‘thanked out by now!’ And they shared a laugh. The once terrified student left the car, and waved to her chauffeur as she reached the inside of her building. The lovely shiny car then drove slowly away.

The weekend arrived and Heather came home for Halloween. Of course she never told us the story until she was good and ready, but she did tell us. She knew the lecture she would get about not staying true to her word and using the ‘Husky Patrol’. After that was dealt with, she decided she would buy a gift box of the famous Annapolis Valley apples for her rescuers. These boxes are beautifully presented, each apple with its colourful paper nest in a box of fortyeight small cubicles. She attached a bow and a thank you note and took it with her when she returned to Halifax and her classes on Monday.

But the strangest thing happened. She located the quaint cottage house, but no car was in the driveway. As a matter of fact, what she thought was a driveway was just a little path leading to the front door. Several times she took the box to the house, but could never locate the endearing ‘lady picklers’. Finally she left her gift on the step, hoping they would find it. She would talk to them when she could.

My daughter went on to graduate from St. Mary’s University. She never did find the kind ladies, never knew their names, and there was never a new car at the tiny house. She could only hope they had found her gift. During a discussion with another student one day she was bemoaning the fact that she never got to say ‘thank you’ in person to her kind helpers. The other student remarked that she had never seen anybody in or around that house, and she had lived on that street for five years. Needless to say we were all dumbfounded by that disclosure.

So, we have come to believe that she found angels that night. Angels who wrapped her in comfort, soothed her fears, and took her safely home. As for Heather, and me, her mother, we will remain convinced, always, that ANGELS DO MAKE PICKLES!