Friday afternoon and everyone seems to have brought their kid to the grocery store.
A woman in a zebra-striped blouse who appears to be nine and a half months pregnant is holding the hand of a little blonde girl in a Rainbow Brite jacket, about four years old I would say. I hope Mom doesn’t give birth right there in the parking lot.
Another girl, maybe six years old, emerges from the back seat of a white Honda, griping mightily about some perceived injustice. Apparently, she’s drawn a picture and wants to bring it into the store with her.
“No, leave it!” says Mom, “we’re just going to get Connor.”
“Where are we going after that?” whines the girl as her mother practically drags her across the parking lot.
We are here with one objective only: To purchase four jars of pickles.
Not just any pickles. Bubbies pickles. The salty, sour, garlicky ones that are pickled in brine instead of vinegar. One bite and I am transported back to the kosher delis of the New York days of my youth. Even though Bubbies products are made right here in California. Go figure.
This constitutes the tokhes end of my birthday present from my very generous wife. Now, my birthday was back in January, but we’ve had a hard time finding my pickles in the intervening couple of months. First of all, you can’t get them around here. You have to drive down to Roseville. On our first attempt, they were all out. Next time, I called ahead and was assured that they had restocked. When we showed up, there was one jar left. One of the managers assured me that they would have more the following day. But, of course, we were not going to drive all that way two days in a row.
So here we are in April, and just in time for Passover, I have my four beautiful jars of salty, garlicky deliciousness sitting in the refrigerator just waiting for me to savor them, one luscious pickle at a time.
Bubbies pickles are not cheap either. They go for four to five dollars a jar over here, and usually northward of six dollars a jar down in Fresno. This is no small thing when you’re looking down the (pickle) barrel of your last unemployment check.
I parcel out my lovelies and try to make them last as long as possible. When we arrived home with my stash, I still had three pickles left in the bottom of my one remaining jar. My nephew came over to visit and I shared them with him. After all, with four pristine jars just awaiting my delectation, I felt in a position to be generous. We each savored one in the living room, after which I offered him the last of the Mohicans. He politely declined. Score!
In a few days, I’ll be heading south to spend a week visiting my parents. We’ll celebrate the two Passover Seders together, catch up on the news, watch some movies. Hopefully, my mother won’t get too feisty on me, which I assure you, even at the age of eighty she is perfectly capable of doing. I am 55 years old and I cannot believe how she can sometimes bug the shit out of me just as she did when I was a teenager.
At this point, however, the signs are looking good.
I hear they bought a jar of Bubbies pickles.