Back when pickles could solve any problem
We were taking pictures of the Benton homecoming parade last week when an odd craving came over me.
I really wanted a pickle. Most country stores have those giant pickles inside the plastic bag filled to the top with pickle juice. They also come in a variety of flavors from hot and spicy to sour dill.
I walked into Berry’s while waiting on the parade to start, and I found a sour pickle in a bag near the cashier.
I haven’t had a pickle in a bag since I was a kid, so I eagerly went to the cashier and purchased my pickle. I was ready to enjoy a good pickle on a hot day.
My obsession with pickles began at a young age. It was during a play date with some friends of mine from down the road.
We were sweating and playing games when my stomach started really hurting.
With my wet hair sticking to my forehead, I collapsed at my Paw Paw’s feet.
“My tummy hurts,” I said, leaning my head on his leg.
Maw Maw was listening from the screen door and jumped into action.
“You got a what,” she asked. “Stomach ache? What you doing going and getting a stomach ache?”
Maw Maw was trying to be funny, and I was in no mood for it. I was in agony, and I was dying for some relief.
Once inside the kitchen, Maw Maw and I tried everything. It was Sunday, so the Piggly Wiggly was closed, and we didn’t have any stomach medicine. So Maw Maw started bringing out the home remedies.
First Maw Maw gave me a spoon of honey and vinegar.
“Now, give it awhile, and that ache will go away,” she said, screwing the top of the head back onto the bear-shaped jar.
I ran back outside and started to play again. But my stomach never would quit hurting.
Maw Maw could tell because a little boy took my turn on the swing set, and I didn’t even argue.
“Come on in here,” Maw Maw said, wiping her hands on her housedress. “Let’s try something else.”
As I waited on the kitchen stool, Maw Maw started digging around in the back of the fridge.
The screen door flew open, and there was that same little boy who had taken my turn on the swing.
“Mrs. Jackson,” he said. “Mr. Jackson said to give her some of this.”
He was giggling so hard that the sentence almost never made it out of his mouth. Maw Maw raised up from the fridge and looked at the boy, who was holding a bottle of castor oil.
“Mr. Jackson said this would fix her right up,” he said, grinning.
“Go on,” Maw Maw said, snapping her dish rag. “That boy ain’t got any sense. Ahh...there it is.”
Maw Maw pulled out this gigantic jar of pickles. There were about four left.
“Maw Maw, I don’t want to eat a pickle,” I said, pouting. “I don’t wanna eat anything.”
“You don’t eat the pickle,” she said, grabbing a cup from the shelf. “You drink some of the juice.”
I never really cared for the juice before, but I was willing to give it a try. I really loved pickles, and maybe Maw Maw was onto to something.
I took about ten sips and headed back outside. Believe it or not, my stomach quit hurting.
But Maw Maw’s home remedy created a monster.
Pretty soon I was drinking all the juice out of the pickle jars, leaving the pickles to rot. I was pouring juice in ice trays and sticking them in the freezer to make “picklesicles.” I would get a whole pickle and dig the inside out and drink the juice. I was a pickle-eating fool.
Flash forward 20 years later, and there I was on the main road through Benton. I was eating a pickle, but I was also tipping the plastic bag into my mouth drinking the juice out.
Eating that pickle took me back to my childhood when a a pickle could cure a craving, a stomach ache or a bad day. I didn’t have any problems in those days that a pickle couldn’t solve.
Jason thought it was funny when he saw me eating that pickle, and he starting bringing some home. I think there’s still one left in the fridge. I better get to it before anybody else does.
But I better put some juice in the freezer for future picklesicles. You never know when James may have a stomach ache in the middle of the night...or when Momma might have a craving.