"They ain't ready," says Earlene, standing with her hands on her hips in the door to the dark hall.
"You plant too late?" Uncle Loren asks.
"What's late?" Earlene asks.
Uncle Loren lowers his chair legs and grins over his shoulder at Earlene. "When they ain't here when I want 'em."
I finished reading The Beans of Egypt, Maine for the second time a few days ago. When I got to this part (page 140), I immediately put my book down, got off the couch, and went to the kitchen looking for any remains of my mother's bread 'n' butter pickles.
It's a small blessing that they actually made it across the country. The movers didn't pack anything from our fridge, and this jar was open and on the bottom shelf. What made Dan pack them up without a second thought and throw them in the trunk, I'll never know, but I am thankful.
My mom makes delicious bread and butter pickles. This batch came from the first planting of cucumbers on the hill above the camp, I think. Last summer wasn't as fruitful, so she made much less. There aren't any more jars of these thin, sweet pickles, and that's a thing to be sad about.
We had vegan macaroni and "cheese" for dinner, and remembering that earlier today my mom said she loves to eat bread and butter pickles with her mac 'n' cheese, I followed suit when dinner time came around. I ate all but two or three.
After dinner we went to Trader Joe's (we were out of avocados, which is a pretty serious situation in our house), and I happened to notice a large jar of pickles on a bottom shelf. They were bread and butters! (They do know what bread 'n' butters are around here!)
Oh, no, they don't.
Don't get me all wrong. These thicker, more garlicky pickles are absolutely delicious, but they're not my mom's. So thick and crunchy, they're nothing at all like the sweet, thinly sliced pickles from a glass home canning jar with a handwritten label.
I ate the rest of mom's after the photo shoot, and then the two from the other dish. Mom's are gone. Sure, I have a whole jar of Bread & Butter Pickles to look forward to, but I look forward more to cucumber season in Maine and a jar of Up North Bread + Butter from my mom's kitchen.