An insatiable craving for fresh Jersey cucumbers led to unending belching in my sleep last night. As I slept face-up, dreams of the Vlasic pickle stork turned to nightmares, before dawn, I was pregnant and because I did not have a womb, I was spitting green babies out of my mouth.
The cucumber patches we grew in Three Springs were my favorite part of the garden. After a good rain, these long green melons melted in one’s mouth.
In early June, we had to pick pickles every morning. The rate at which the vines produced was staggering. My brother Bill and I filled several ten gallon buckets each day. We sat on the porch swing with a salt and pepper shaker and ate cucumbers until we grew tired of the seeds and spit them out, as if these green vegetables were watermelons.
Our mother canned the most succulent of pickles—sweet ones—tons of cucumbers were sliced lengthways and packed into jars with water and vinegar and a spice called “pickling spice” that if eaten raw caused the peach fuzz on one’s ball’s to stand up straight. The pickles were cooked in a pressure cooker. All afternoon the pressure cooker whistled. The smell of sweet and sour filled the hot, humid air of our mother’s kitchen.
For supper in mid-June, there was always a big bowl of sliced cucumbers and onions drenched in vinegar on the table. Mom’s big orange Tupperware bowl was nearly overflowing. “Enough of that deer steak, finish up these cucumbers, you know there will be a million more by morning,” she ordered, holding the same wooden spoon she cracked our “skinny asses” with when we were bad.
Cucumbers are 3 for $2 now—that’s more expensive than shrimp or lobster when considering how fast they grow.
I got to get more today. It’s such an insatiable craving.
I must really be pregnant.