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Mildred Pickle, Dragon
A once-a-year appearance
May 31, 2023

O
riental is familiar with dragons making a yearly appearance – that usually happens New Year’s Eve. But there’s a lesser known dragon that makes an annual appearance in town. One called Mildred Pickles.

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The multi-hued head of Mildred.
Mildred started life as a few pieces of marine plywood, donated to alleviate a bit of tedium during a family visit.

About five or six years ago (she doesn’t recall how many exactly) Laurie Sampson’s extended family was visiting for the first time. It was Memorial Day weekend and the group needed a diversion.

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One of the seven sections of Mildred is a school of fish.

“It’s a very creative group and they needed something to do,” she said. “The idea of creating our own dragon happened. And so my daughter-in-law to be got busy with a jigsaw and cut out the pods.”

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The Dragon and her many pieces.

The pods make up Mildred’s body. Friends and family members took a single pod for their creative design or teamed up to create the pieces. That first year, Mildred hung on the back fence of Laurie’s home for the duration of the visit. “But we decided other people needed to see her.”

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Panels one and two, behind the dragon head, show what the inside of a dragon may look like, and a split view of above and below.

So the next year, the dragon graced the fence of the tennis / Pickleball court. Which is also how she got her name.

Mildred Pickle (and the tennis court) is near Mildred Street. And when the family gather for their annual reunion, they play a variation on Pickleball. They call it Dragon Ball.

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Behind the school of fish – a splatter paint spectacle.

In Dragon Ball, you can have as many people as you want on the court – often four to six on a side, says Laurie. “As long as the ball is bouncing, you can scoop it up and hit it.” The ball can also be hit multiple times on one side of the court. “Whoever scored the point, gets the point, regardless of who served.”

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The traditional dragon scales, with a less traditional variegated coloring.

A serve can happen from anywhere on the court. And if it hits the cement – it’s still in play. “It’s really good for a large number of people of varying abilities,” she says. Perfect for a multi-generational family to play together while Mildred hangs out nearby.

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Paint swirls decorate another of Mildred’s many sections.

The family dragon makes an appearance for a few days at Memorial Day – the one weekend a year when they can all get together. After she dries out a bit more from all the recent rain, Mildred will return to her lair inside Laurie’s home. And wait until ext May when she can hang out and watch the family again.

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The tail created up of off-cuts and leftover marine plywood bits.

Posted Wednesday May 31, 2023 by Allison DeWeese


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