Posts Tagged ‘pickles’

FLASHBACK:  One beautiful evening there was a potluck party at a nearby rustic Lodge.   I remember stepping out of the lodge for a moment (to surreptitiously spit something nasty out of my mouth)  into the black night.  After unceremoniously spitting, I looked around and suddenly felt dizzy.  The sky was full of twinkling stars and at ground level millions of sparking fireflies looked like stars too.  I was confused about earth and sky, transfixed by an upside down world of fiction, with no horizon for reference.  It was the most magical thing I had ever seen.  We were new to country life then.  This leads me to the Tale of the Pickle Lady.

EARLIER THAT EVENING:  Inside  the Lodge, people were helping themselves to homemade foods like ham biscuits made with possibly the saltiest ham on earth, pulled pork barbecue, sliced turkey, coleslaw, home fries, baked beans, and homemade pickles.   I filled my plate of course and joined my husband at a picnic table where we were seated with strangers.


Becky (name changed to protect the innocent) was a jovial woman married to a jovial fellow named Dick.  They were happy to say hello to us new comers and make jovial conversation.  Becky took one look at my plate and said, “I don’t see my pickles.  You have to try my pickles.  It’s my grandma’s recipe.”

I NEVER want to hurt anyone’s feelings so I dutifully went back to the buffet and loaded up on her homemade pickles.  They were AWFUL!  I usually love almost any food (as is fairly obvious by body mass), but I will say it again – BECKY’S PICKLES WERE AWFUL!  Yuk.  Ikk.  Bleh. (Modern slang for Ughhhh!)


Again, since I NEVER want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I tried hard not to frown or spit anything out there and then,  and I lied with a somewhat contorted expression, “Oh, these are delicious!  Your grandma must have been a very good cook!”  Becky had a satisfied smile on her face and I knew we had made our first country friends.  The disgusting pickles had brought us together.  Lying was a small price to pay for friendship, or was it?  Flashback: That was when I stepped outside into the magical night.

Stay with me.


A few weeks later we were invited to dinner at Dick and Becky’s house.  All went well until we thanked them for dinner and were on our way out.  And Becky said, “Oh, do take home a jar of my pickles.  I know how much you like them.  No hurry to return it, but I would like to have the jar back.”  Uh oh!  Well, I figured I could wait a few days, throw the pickles away, and then return the jar.  BUT, SHE GAVE US A GIANT JAR OF THE AWFUL PICKLES!

I thanked her profusely of course and waited a few weeks before returning the empty jar.  AND BECKY GAVE ME ANOTHER REFILL!  There would be no escaping her kindness and I could never tell her how much we hated those pickles.  And I always had to return the gallon jar and receive another filled jar in return!  WOE IS ME – I WOULD HAVE THOSE AWFUL PICKLES IN MY CUPBOARD FOREVER!

After returning a jar the fourth time around, Becky’s husband, Dick, came out to my car and asked, “Did Becky give you another jar of pickles?” “Yes, she did,” I almost sighed.

Dick got a very big grin on his face. “THANK YOU!  You are helping me get rid of those terrible pickles,” he said.  “I HATE the darned things and so does everybody else around here!”

We stayed friends with Becky and Dick for years, until they retired and moved away.  There are no more gallon jars of awful pickles in my cupboard.  And guess what?  I miss them – the pickles, and I miss the people too.

But, do you think our new friends saw us coming all those years ago on a starry night in July?  The joke was definitely on me and would be typical of Virginia-style humor.

Country Tip for City Dudes:

Never lie about liking someone’s home cooking.  You may wind up with far more than enough!


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