The Cherished-Memory Game – Pickle Edition 

August 8, 2020

Dear Diary,

Due to this pandemic, my hair is longer than it has ever been in my whole life.

August 9, 2020

Dear Diary,

Due to this pandemic, when I brush my hair, it’s knotted.

Yikes!

What a pain pulling out the knots.

August 10, 2020

Dear Diary,

Due to the pandemic, I was just lying in bed thinking about pickles.

I’m lying on my back, with my hands resting on my chest and my fingers clasped together.

Thinking about life’s cherished moments.

When I challenge myself to a round of  the “cherished-memory game—pickle edition.”

Rules of the cherished-memory game—pickle edition:

  1. Select your favorite pickle memory;
  2. Fill in the following details: year, season, time of day, place and people and then rewind the videotape in your head;
  3. Enjoy the film.

That’s it.

I’m 7-years old and I’m walking down Broadway toward Main, in my home town of Woodridge, NewYork

I’m headed to Proyect’s Fruit and Produce.

It’s summer in the Catskills; it’s hot—90 degrees in the shade of our maple trees.

So hot that the pungent odor of melted black tar eminating from the street burns my nostrils.

So hot that my Keds stick to the pavement.

But not hot enough for me to stop walking and reach into my pocket for a worn out buffalo nickel.

I take the nickle out, place it on my thumbnail, flip it in the air and catch it on the back of my hand.

I study coin— Indian or buffalo—heads or tails.

But it really doesn’t matter.

I have already decided what I’m buying on this quest for the taste of sour.

I crave a kosher dill pickle.

I want to munch into the dill and listen to each crunch as my teeth sink deep into the pickle.

Marching into the produce store I proclaim,

“Hi, Mr. Proyect. How are you doing today?”

“Swell kid. How are you doing? Do you need any help?”

“Great. But it’s pretty hot out there. No help necessary.”

As I talk, I’m captured by the store’s smells.

I’m bombarded with odors.

The fruit section wreaks of ripeness—

Ripe plums, ripe pears, ripe watermelon and ripe apples.

The intoxicating sweetness wafts through the air.

As I walk past the fruits and veggies, my eyes capture a kaleidoscope of colors radiating off of each bin or wooden basket:

Yellow cobs of corn;

Orange carrots;

Dark purple eggplants;

Seedless green grapes dressed in droplets of water.

Toward the rear of the store, my nose twitches as I see googly-eyed carp, packed on top of a sheet of crushed ice.

And all the way in the back of the store, I reach the treasure that I am searching for—the old pickle barrel.

The old wooden barrel made of thick oak staves and bound in bands of steel.

The barrel holds at least hundred pickles.

A barrel filled with brine, kosher salt, vinegar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and garlic cloves.

A barrel that carries the pungent smell I have grown to love.

I study the bobbers for size and color.

I pull a “half-sour” out of the pickle barrel—still crisp and bright green.

I hand my nickel to Mr. Proyect.

“Thanks Mr. Proyect. You’ve got the best pickles in the whole wide world.”

“Thanks kid. See you later.”

Walking home, munching on my dill and licking the pickle juice off of my lips, I realize life is good.

August 12, 2020

Dear Diary,

Due to this pandemic, I  had an opportunity to relive a cherished memory of my youth.

And life is still good.

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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