I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Cucumber Baby was Both Practical and Delicious


“Mumma, why don’t you take Pearl here out to the garden, see if you can’t load her up?”

I have gone to my parents’ place for the afternoon.  My father, having discovered that the inside of my windshield has the transparency of an executive board’s decision-making policy, potters off in search of Windex.

My mother grabs a knife.

The garden, a gated affair that succeeds in keeping the deer out and the veggies in, teems with ripe and ripening flora.  It is mid-September in Minnesota; and while Minneapolis itself remains green, two hours’ north the change of the seasons is in the air, the maple tree on their property beginning to turn.

Snow is not far in front of us.

We wander amid the rows, pulling up beets and onions.  The green beans hang in chandeliers, slim and tolerably fuzzy.  The tomatoes wink, in varied shades of green and red, from within their cages.

My mother is bent in half, her hands at work.  “How many cukes?” she calls.

“As many as you can spare,” I say.

“Oh, for cryin’ out loud,” she says, her voice muffled by the vegetation.  “I was just out here yesterday, and would you take a look at this one?”

She hoists a particularly ambitious cuke aloft, a green dirigible against the bright blue sky.

There is a hollyhock off to the side of the garden.  “You know,” I say, “it seems to me that I remember Grandma making me a little doll out of hollyhocks.  Does that seem right to you?”

My mother straightens up, smiles.  “Yes,” she says.  Her dark brown eyes shine.  “A little blossom skirt, a bit of green, and a little blossom bonnet.”

“I think that’s why I love hollyhocks.”

She looks down at the extra large cucumber in her hand.  “We used to make dolls of these, you know.”

I cock my head toward her, a quizzical gesture I know to be one of hers. 

“We drew little faces on them,” she says, wistfully.  “And wrapped them in little receiving blankets.”

I laugh.  “You played with cucumber babies?”

She nods. “Me and Sis and Patti and Janice, we all had our little cucumber babies.”

She grins.  “And then for supper, we peeled them and ate them with a little salt and pepper.”

 She tosses me the cuke. “Let’s go see what your father is up to, shall we?”

40 comments:

R. Jacob said...

I shudder to guess what is going on with the windex!

Kim Gibson said...

You are such a fabulous writer. A pleasure to read, as always.

savannah said...

how incredibly practical, sugar! i love stories like this. xoxoxox

Shelly said...

I love toys that can do double duty, as both a plaything and then as a food item. I think I would have loved gardening with your grandma~

SherilinR said...

edible babies - what a great concept!

Simply Suthern said...

Cucumber babies

Mr Potato Head

Veggie Tales

Birds and the Bees

It's all happening it the garden.



mybabyjohn/Delores said...

A practical family indeed .. and .. you'll be able to see through your windshield on the way home.
My gran made ballerinas out of hollyhocks for me.

Joshua said...

I've never liked cucumbers. I used to like pickles, but then I went to college in the same town as a Heinz pickle farm. Smelled awful on hot days.

Pat said...

I had a deprived childhood. I didn't have a hollyhock dolly:(

Sextant said...

Very practical, by eating one's toys one would never tire of them.

I wished the made windshields where they simply popped out for cleaning. I would put mine in the bath tub and let it soak for a while.

fishducky said...

How can you peel & eat something you've played with? Isn't that why farmers don't let their kids name the baby animals? I'm reminded of the joke: Mamma guppy has her baby. Daddy guppy is watching & says, "Look, Martha, it's a girl.....& she was DELICIOUS!!"

Geo. said...

I actually was a cucumber baby. Not many of us survived supper but it was a raucous family and I got lost in a game of catch.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl! Aah, what a charming vignette; I can see where the crazy comes from. Indigo x

CarrieBoo said...

Better than eating a G.I. Joe "doll", I have to imagine. I can never get over your memory! Maybe all those cucumbers you ate had something to do with it.

Jacquelineand.... said...

I'm with fishducky on this one...it smacks tastily (is that a word?) of cannibalism.

Cucumber dolls........yum!

Oh btw, I posted a wee bit about your blog today. Finally.

Suldog said...

I don't have any comment that can possibly top the image of eating your little cucumber children, so I'll not even try. Hilarious!

esbboston said...

My favorite pickle is a zesty bread & butter chips from Vlasic, Mmmmm..... I use them of burgers and potato salad. Okay, now I'm hungry, your fault!

vanilla said...

When spouse was a little girl she played with the rabbit. Then one night after supper she came in and and asked Grandma "Where's Bucky?" Why, honey, we ate Bucky for supper. Your imagination will take you exactly where this story went.

Sis had hollyhock dolls, but cucumbers? Hmm. I think not.

The Jules said...

Beautiful AND funny.

Loved this!

Jenny Woolf said...

What a lovely little memory. Quite touching to imagine those little girls making babies out of the veggies. Mind you there is something just a little scary about your own mother having babies as children which she then ate with salt and pepper :D

Gigi said...

Well you know, some mammals DO eat their young......

About your Dad....I'm wondering if could he come and clean my windshield for me?

The Elephant's Child said...

My cucumber doll would have stayed that way. Gack. Phooey. Poison.

jenny_o said...

This was a lovely memory, Pearl.

Your mother was not only a loving mama but a practical little girl too!

Bodacious Boomer said...

Wasn't Miss Cucumber the precursor to Mr. Potato Head?

the walking man said...

My assumption is that before the republicans gain complete control those cukes should all be picked early or there will be a pickle shortage in America.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

I remember my Mother in the garden, and Grandma in hers. I also remember the sweet peas Grandpa grew along the fence in his back yard. That one memory of Grandpa's flowers has made me LOVE sweet peas ever since!
Rosemary

Empty Nester said...

Cucumber babies...never thought of that. And I never had a hollyhock doll either. Man, I missed out!

Douglas said...

First, let me congratulate you on your complete understanding of an executive mind (for lack of a better word). And, second, tell Fishducky that I have often peeled and eaten something I've played with. Or at least dated.

Joanne Noragon said...

It was just too easy back then, wasn't it.

Mrs. Tuna said...

A little bit of Cucumber in water, very refreshing.

HermanTurnip said...

Loved this snapshot in time. More, yes? Please?

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

And to think, I only thought they were good for Kosher pickle.

Rose L said...

Thank goodness, the tradition of peeling and devouring your "babies" did not continue when they had you! LOL

anna Sonata said...

Nice article, thanks for sharing.
Anna @ sewa mobil jakarta

River said...

We had potato babies now and again, when one was dug up that had enough dents and knobs to pass for eyes and a nose. We'd wrap them in a hanky and push them in the tiny doll's pram until mum wanted them back for dinner.
Later I had my own veggie garden big enough to feed us and several relatives until I moved away from that house. Overnight miniscule zucchinis would grow to the size of small watermelons!

Tempo said...

Nice words and nice rememberances Pearl... (hows your spelling and punctuation OCD coming on?)

Lynn said...

Oh how this makes me miss my parents. Yours are marvelous.

Shell said...

Peggy, this one made me cry this morning. Nothing I love more then a good Grandma story. I still miss her! Your Mom's smile & that twinkle in her eye, are another particular favorite... Thanks.

Stephen Hayes said...

Lovely glimpse into your family. I'll think about this the next time I eat a cucumber. Thanks for sharing.

Pat Tillett said...

At least they gave their lives for a noble cause. Dinner!
Great one Pearl...