One thing you could always count on Grandma and Grandpa having in their fridge was a giant jar of hamburger pickles. (Ice cream and lemon-lime soda, too!) In fact, my cousins and I were such pickle addicts by the time I was 6 that Grandpa had started joking with us that someday we’d wake up to discover that we’d turned into pickles, and dubbed us his “picklepusses”. From then on, my mom’s parents were better known as Grandma and Grandpa Picklepuss.
If one of us got hurt chasing each other in the backyard, or tipping over in the little red wagon, Grandpa was right there to offer up some pickles and/or a cup full of sun tea (with more sugar cubes than tea, of course!). No fresh-off-the-grill hamburger was ever complete without a couple squirts of ketchup and a double layer of pickles. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around a super-sized pickle jar.
Yesterday, I found myself missing him more than usual, tears streaming down my face and landing with a thud on the kitchen table. There was a new jar of pickles on the counter, and I couldn’t help remembering all the times that pickles made everything better. As the brine dripped down my chin, I was flooded with memories of years gone by – the million or so pickles and multiple pounds of sugar cubes consumed at Grandpa’s house, the long chats about our family’s history, and all the love he always made me feel.
Grandpa, pickles can’t fix the reason my heart is broken – nothing can – but they helped me through a rough spot, and maybe helped to heal it a little bit. Pickles really do make everything better… almost.