When I think of words which entice memories from all five senses, pickles come early on the list. I see mounded dirt covered with green vines, tiny hands moving the leaves to peek at midget cucumbers growing. I feel prickly skins as I scrubbed them prior to slicing and dicing for canning. I smell pervasive odors of onions and vinegar as we mixed them with the pickling spices. And taste … ah, those canned bread and butter pickles, a bit sweet, a bit tart. My senses reel with the memories.
“What about sound?” you say? Everyone knows the crunch of a crisp dill pickle, the slurp of a tongue catching the juice. But for me, the thought of a dill pickle brings a much different sound—that of an organ. Not playing hymns in church (whoever heard of dill pickles at a worship service!) but jazzing away with what I cherished as “skating music.”
At the roller rink where I spent my teen years, they offered live organ music to skate by. I can still hear lilting melodies perfect for free-spirited wheeling around the floor. Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” melted into “Rockin’ Robin” from the 1950s. We “shook, rattled, and rolled” with Bill Haley’s hit, then slowed for a couples’ skate to Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover.” Since it was the 1970s, they also played recorded music, but this girl’s heart came alive when the organist came off break and the real music began.
“But what about pickles?” you ask. Ah, yes, pickles. The snack bar contained plenty to give hungry teenagers something to rebuild their energy: hot pizza, icy slushies, sweet candy, salty soft pretzels. I’d pay my quarter and watched the seller fish out a huge, dripping, forest green dill pickle from the humongous jar. I’d take it to a corner booth and crunch away, happy and satisfied with life at the skating rink.
Today, another pickle brings me much joy, and since it IS Christmas-in-July time, let’s talk about it! Early in our daughters’ childhood, we found a unique ornament—a blown-glass pickle with a story. Always drawn to things with stories, we read how the pickle tradition started in Germany. Parents hid the ornament in the Christmas tree after the children fell asleep. Christmas morning found the kiddos scrambling to be the first to find the pickle, for the one who did received an extra gift! We bought that pickle and continue to hang it today, granting the find-ee a special gift (usually something to share with everyone—a box of Pop Tarts or cocoa).
Pickles! When God created the cucumber, do you think He had any idea they’d fill a girl’s life from gardens to roller skating rinks to Christmas trees?
*** What senses does the word “pickle” set off for you? Please, share your story! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!
*** Do you celebrate “Christmas-in-July”? We do! See how in next week’s blog!