September 4, 2009

Preserving my Rights as an American

I just accidentally ate a pickle. My family and close friends know that I never will eat a pickle on purpose. Ever.

At the “have it your way” place I ordered my burger with ketchup, mustard, onion, lettuce and tomato. I punctuated my order with “absolutely no pickle.” She must have heard “add more pickle.” Arriving home, I opened my burger and took a big bite.
Ugh. There -- between the two buns was a scrawny burger, ketchup, mustard, onion, lettuce, tomato, and six pickles. Six. I counted them.

I am scowling, just thinking about the taste and texture of the sickening poison wafer. I brushed my teeth four times.

Pickles are cucumbers gone bad.

I cannot say enough bad things about pickles.

But I will try.

They are disgusting, slimy, evil, spiteful little beings that try to ruin my life.

One local restaurant serves all its sandwiches with a pickle attached to an American flag toothpick. Attaching a pickle to the symbol of our democracy is akin to defacing our flag in my opinion.

I quickly give these pickles – American flag and all – to husband who relishes them.
Pickle transfer happens quickly – I do not know what will happen to me if pickle juice touched my sandwich. Certain bitter death, only to be canned forever.

Let us consider the wonderful cucumber, freshly picked from a Warrick County garden.

The Latin name is Cucumis sativus, which roughly translated means, not fit to cure or can.

Does anything taste as good on a salad or sandwich as a fresh slice of cucumber? That is, of course, rhetorical. I give you that a Big Boy tomato may be just as good.

Our neighbors, the Smiths, shared their bounty of cucumbers with us this summer. We’ve had the wonderful southern Indiana tradition of “fire and ice” several times. I’ve made cucumber salad with Italian dressing, and we’ve added cucumber slices to the “Randy Burgers”, the wonderful quarter-pound burgers from the River Town Butcher Shop. (What we and our neighbors call the burgers, after the butcher shop’s owner.)

Sometimes cucumbers are led astray, into a sour and bitter world for which there is no escape. They lose their fresh appeal, and fall into the brine. For this, there is no cure.

My predicament with pickles began as a child. In the 1960s television situation comedy The Andy Griffith Show, Aunt Bea canned homemade pickles for Andy and Barney. In order to preserve her feelings, Andy and Barney praise her “kerosene cucumbers.” Aunt Bea then enters them in the county fair and loses for the umpteenth time to her rival Clara Edwards (nee Johnson for you Andy Griffith purists.)

It just was not kosher. Quoth the raven.