Avoiding the interstate, I drove to work each day through town. For nine months I did this, from one end of the city to the other. One hour this way. One hour back. Seemed safer. Maybe not. Seemed quieter. Certainly at times it was. Gave me time to contemplate life (the radio was off!) and plan and pray. And… I discovered the pickle factory.
Living here for over twenty years, I feel that I should have known Fort Worth had its own pickle factory. (But I didn’t.) Best Maid Pickles. I passed it going and coming five days a week for nine months. Early, in the dark, when workers were arriving, when big trucks were backing in to get their big loads of pickles to transport to stores all over Texas. 4:30 every afternoon, often in the baking sun, the place quiet to the outside observer, but inside? Fermentation, osmosis, vacuum packing, the occasional spilled pickle batch, vinegary odors spreading.
I started buying Best Maid over the cheaper brands, over the BIG FANCY name brands. After all it was a Texas pickle, “my pickle.” I’ve even settled on a favorite pickle brew. Jerry, you’ve “never had a really good pickle?” I recommend the Best Maid bread-and-butters packed with jalapenos. I’ve been putting away two jars a week.
Why my preoccupation with this local place of pickle production and packaging? I don’t really know. I do tend to become obsessed about the oddest things. And.. I do like pickles. Perhaps it’s the philosophical parallelism between my travelling each day to school to package processed ideas about biology and chemistry into the minds of high-schoolers while those Texan pickle people packed processed pickles into countless jars painted with that cute little Best Maid logo girl. They were working hard each day, I was working hard each day. We both had something important to do. And we did it day after day, week after week, month after month. People were out there counting on our teaching and our pickles. And we didn’t give up. We delivered.
“The noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.” Isaiah 32:8
Link to Best Maid website:
Now that I’m off for two months, work has stepped up. The pile of notes increases. The manuscript of half-truths grows. My vision of completion is less fuzzy.
ARROWS, SECRET INK, AND… GRAMMAR?
The Iggulden boys have resurrected the spirit of the old Childcraft books and BSA Cub Scout manuals with their delightful THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS. DANGEROUS has a bit of everything, certainly enough to keep you reading (wonders of the world, famous battles, amazing people) and learning (chess, rugby, crystal making) and building (bows and arrows, go-carts, chemical batteries) for years. Printed as a pleasantly bound, old-style book, TDBFB is a refreshing break from the electronic garbage that has flooded (and is drowning) our minds and souls. Need to brush up on your first aid skills… who doesn’t? The basics are in there. Put away your crApple gizmo and look up at the night sky again; TDBFB has basic star maps for navigation. Never learned knots because you were too busy swiping the bipolar-mind cancer-suicide screen? Basic rope skills are included. How about lowering your IIR (imbecile index rating) by doing a bit of grammar review, reading a little Shakespeare and Robert Frost, and learning common Latin phrases? The Igguldens have provided a freighter-load of intellectualism that can’t fail to impress your friends and enemies. I’m eager to be off for the summer… so that I can build my first bow-and-arrow!
Link to original Goodreads review:
Pickling, teaching, training, nursing, farming… no matter what you do, it’s a tough world of backbreaking work… full of rude, rebellious people who often give you the business no matter how hard you try to do the right thing.
Just keep on doing the right thing… because… well… it’s the right thing to do.
(The right thing is not “might,” as many people sadly believe. “Might is right!” they declare, with blood on their hands.)
“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:6-7.