Speak­ing of pick­les

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Harold Wal­ters Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com.

More than a month has passed since Smucker’s, ba­si­cally an Amer­i­can jam com­pany —Yes, a jam com­pany! — swung its cor­po­rate fist and dealt New­found­lan­ders an aw­ful punch in the gul­lets.

In the same way a pup­pet politi­cian is per­mit­ted to speak in the voice of the Supreme Politico, so to speak, Smucker’s Canada spoke in the voice of Mr. Smucker’s Par­ent Com­pany — spoke hor­rors that sounded like this in un­sus­pect­ing pro­vin­cial ears: “Hey, New­fies, b’ys, we id­den cook­ing any more of them Zest mus­tard pick­les.”

En masse, New­found­lan­ders wept; wept mon­soons over their Sun­day din­ner plates; wept un­til their watery gravy washed off their plates like tsunamis.

“Harry, my own sweet pickle,” said Dear­est Duck. “Per­haps you are be­ing a tad ex­treme.” “No more than a tad,” said I. “Why do you even care?” said Dear­est Duck. “You don’t eat many mus­tard pick­les in the run of a year.”

“That’s true,” said I, “but I’d like to know I could crunch that chunk of cauliflower if I so de­sired. Be­sides, it’s never nice when over­bear­ing in­sti­tu­tions force change on a cul­ture. Sure, look what hap­pened to the In­di­ans.”

“Hardly the same,” said Dear­est Duck, “and you should be more po­lit­i­cally cor­rect.” “I s’pose,” said I. Dear­est Duck left my side. I hoped she’d gone to fetch me Ten­sion Tamer, toast and jam.

Now, to hoist my de­railed train of thought back on its tracks…

Af­ter Mr. Smucker’s an­nounce­ment, the re­sult­ing pickle bal­ly­hoo that caused New­found­lan­ders’ lachry­mal glands to leak like sprung plumb­ing, came to pass be­cause fu­ture Sun­day Din­ners would suf­fer from a dearth of sweet mus­tard pick­les.

Ah, yes. Sun­day din­ner. The tra­di­tional — for a hun­dred years or so any­way — New­found­land Jiggs Din­ner.

Jiggs Din­ner, a feed, a scoff that in light of the present so­cial up­heaval, I shud­der to say does not suit my palate. At the risk of be­ing ban­ished with rocks and hav­ing my cit­i­zen­ship re­voked I must say I’d rather eat cook­ies and cake. Be that as it may… Pun­dits — gus­ta­tory gu­rus — be­lieve said Sun­day repast gets its name from the once pop­u­lar comic strip Bring­ing Up Fa­ther in which Jiggs, an Ir­ish hod car­rier — hod car­rier? — who’d won a lot­tery and moved to Amer­ica, loves to chow down on corned beef and cab­bage. What odds. “Harry,” Dear­est Duck has said a thou­sand times dur­ing our merry mat­ri­mo­nial years, “I’d cook Jiggs Din­ner but you don’t like it.”

“My Duck,” I’ve replied a thou­sand times, ac­knowl­edg­ing that merry mat­ri­mony in­volves com­pro­mise, “never use me as a rea­son for not cook­ing some­thing you like. Cook up a scoff and toss it on my plate. I’ll smother it with…”

Not mus­tard pick­les. Although I con­fess that oc­ca­sion­ally, I’ve tried that widely favoured condi­ment, hop­ing that my sweet tooth, savour­ing the sugar in the mus­tard, would dis­tract my taste buds and per­mit me to swal­low a fork­ful of the most un­palat­able por­tion on my plate — frig­gin’ pease pudding.

Alas, not even for Dear­est Duck, the sweet mus­tard in my life’s pickle jar, have I even been able to glutch pease pudding into my pud­dick.

Yes, yes, I’ve tried but I can’t even force it down my throat with the back­side of a spoon. “Harry.” “Okay, my Duck, enough about me and what a sour dill I am.”

Like a poacher in the king’s for­est who, re­leas­ing his ar­row a smidgen too soon, too late re­al­izes that killing the king’s own deer will cause a furor, Mr. Smucker — or p’raps his Cana­dian pup­pet — said, “Oops, bad move.”

Even as the first flood of tears flushed from Newfy eyes, Mr. Smucker was — in a man­ner of speak­ing — pat­ting the pop­u­lace’s back and promis­ing, “You won’t have to do with­out your pick­les for too long be­cause …”

… well, be­cause Mr. Smucker de­cided to set wheels in mo­tion that would soon stock New­found­land’s empty shelves with a re­place­ment brand of sweet mus­tard pick­les — Bick’s Sweet Mus­tard Pick­les.

Thoughts of his own wal­let never once crossed Mr. Smucker’s mind, eh b’ys?

I told a lie back there a ways. Bent the truth at least.

Of­ten­times — twice a year guar­an­teed — I eat Jiggs Din­ner when Dear­est

Although I con­fess that oc­ca­sion­ally, I’ve tried that widely favoured condi­ment, hop­ing that my sweet tooth, savour­ing the sugar in the mus­tard, would dis­tract my taste buds and per­mit me to swal­low a fork­ful of the most un­palat­able por­tion on my plate — frig­gin’ pease pudding.

Duck boils up the beef and caps my plate with cab­bage.

But I never smother the grub with mus­tard pick­les.

I bury the spuds, the car­rots, the turnip … the whole she­bang, with dou­ble scoops of Granny’s Green Goose­berry Pick­les. B’ys Triple G-Ps are an op­tion. At least in the in­terim. Thank you for read­ing.

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