[dropcap]I[/dropcap] tried to make pickles last week. They came out tasting like cumbers soaked in rubbing alcohol. I don’t have the knack my mother had. She could’ve pickled boot leather and it would’ve been fit to serve company.
Pickling was her thing. Compared to hers, store-bought pickles were a joke.
Mother also claimed her pickle brine was a miracle elixir. Capable of relieving headaches and constipation. I never believed her claims until I was twelve. My insides were backed up worse than five-o’clock traffic. Mother made me drink an entire jar of pickle juice.
After forty minutes on my side, the Lord visited our house.
Mother pickled everything from hardboiled eggs to beef livers. Daddy loved slimy livers. I didn’t want to be in the same county when he ate them. To be funny, he’d plop them on his face and pretend like they were gnawing him alive.
He made all the noises that might accompany such an event.
Mother’s most famous pickled delicacy was watermelon rinds. In the summers she collected them. When she had enough rinds, she’d pickle them better than Peter Piper himself. But we were only permitted to eat them at barbecues.
When we had guests.
And not everyone appreciated watermelon rinds like we did. In fact, some didn’t even know what they were. Once, my Uncle from New Jersey was visiting. Daddy barbecued a pork shoulder. When my uncle saw the rinds, he wrinkled his face like he was about to vomit.
He should’ve never done that.
Because then Daddy broke out the beef livers.