This is part one of an assignment I’ve been given by Bear to take a photo each day this week and write something about it for no more than 15 minutes. We’ll see how it goes.
I used to have a pin: it was a small green pickle pin, and in worn, embossed lettering, it read “Heinz.” I’m not sure where it came from, anymore. I think my grandfather used to work for Heinz. Well, I know he worked for Hertz, not sure about Heinz. Maybe someone at Hertz gave him a pin from Heinz. None can tell.
I loved that pin, it’s miniature shape having the bumpy texture of a fine deli jewel, and I wore it proudly on my denim jacket, which was covered in an armor made of pins. Exodus, Bon Jovi, Slayer, Anthrax, Saxon, Helloween, AC/DC, Metallica, Queensryche, Heinz. It worked for me. I love metal, I love pickles. Both have played important roles in my life.
I spent many weekends at the flea market with my grandmother, pouring through racks of comic books, buying ninja stars and knives, t-shirts with iron-on designs…but one of my favorite stops was the first vendor inside the main entrance: Julie, the Pickle Man. Julie had big wooden barrels filled with different kinds of pickles, floating in pungent, garlic clove studded brine. He always had a smile and a pickle for me to nosh upon while my grandmother tried in vain to interest me in the girls’ clothing in the booth next door. The pickles were crisp, sour, tart, salty, dill, and delicious.
When my family would eat at the deli, the waiter would first bring a bucket of pickles for the table, along with small dishes of coleslaw. This, for me, was fine dining, and it was not uncommon for me to gorge myself on these delectables to the point of being unable to order any actual food.
I have bought pickles from tall jars on countertops at convenience stores, pickles in one-serving bags filled with oddly colored juice from supermarket deli counters, and, as a kid, excitedly ordered cups of pickle slices from the register jockey in McDonalds; pickle spears with my sub, pickle chips with my grilled cheese, pickle bits in my egg salad. A platter of gherkins, a stack of bread and butter slices, a basket of fried sour pickles with a nice horseradish sauce. Give them unto me, and I shall eat them with aplomb.
I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a Heinz pickle, though.