by Niles Reddick
Helen died today around noon, according to a friend who sent me a message on Facebook. This was, of course, after I had just posted an early happy birthday note to Helen. Helen’s birthday is Saturday, the same day the family planned her visitation and funeral. Not long after she died, Helen’s husband posted a stunning picture of her on Facebook, one I heard they had framed over the fireplace in their home. She didn’t look almost sixty, nor did she look like she’d fought cancer four times, holding it at bay with chemo, until a repeat performance was the show stopper. Her daughter and granddaughter will get her jewelry, maybe some clothes and dishes, a sentimental piece of furniture or family heirloom. They will get the same picture in a frame over the piano no one played until a future generation no longer know the identity of the picture and it finds its way to an antique store in a rural town or inner city where owners grapple to revitalize and financially struggle to survive in a world that doesn’t care for its own past.
Niles Reddick’s newest novel Drifting too far from the Shore has been nominated for a Pulitzer. Previously, his collection Road Kill Art and Other Oddities was a finalist for an Eppie award and his first novella Lead Me Home was a national finalist for a Foreword award. His work has appeared in anthologies Southern Voices in Every Direction, Unusual Circumstances, Getting Old, and Happy Holidays. Author of nearly one hundred stories, Reddick has been featured in many literary magazines and journals including The Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies, Southern Reader, Like the Dew, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Pomanok Review, Corner Club Press, Slice of Life, Spelk, and Faircloth Review. Reddick works for the University of Memphis, Lambuth, in Jackson, Tennessee. His website is http://nilesreddick.com/.