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Jr. Tales: In a Pickle

Y. Bromberg

"Um...” Mrs. Roth looked utterly confused. “It does say here that’s what she requested… But… a pickle for supper?”

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

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M rs. Roth was running late. Very late. Panting and sweating in the overheated kitchen, she stirred a massive pot of creamy pea soup.

“Ima, we still have one more meal to cook!” chorused Yoni and Hodaya.

“Oh no, don’t tell me that!” Mrs. Roth glanced at the sauce-splattered clock on the crowded kitchen counter. “We already have to deliver 35 meals tonight!”

“Ima, you’re the biggest chesed lady I know,” Hodaya said, staring in admiration as her mother began piling pans and disposal silverware onto a large metal cart. “How many years have you been cooking food for needy people in our apartment building?”

“Baruch Hashem, Hashem gives me the strength!” Mrs. Roth responded quietly. She glanced down at the wrinkled list of names in her hand. “Oh, you two were right! A new person was added to our list. Mrs. Berger, on the third floor. It says here for dinner she requested a—”

“A pickle!” Yoni chortled. “I already prepared it!” He held up a plastic plate with a small green pickle in the middle.

“Um...” Mrs. Roth looked utterly confused. “It does say here that’s what she requested… But… a pickle for supper?”

“Ima!” Hodaya pointe

d at the clock. “We’re already five minutes late!”

“Okay, kids, let’s go!” Mrs. Roth led the way, pushing the cart into the hallway. Yoni did the knocking, Hodaya made the small talk, and Mrs. Roth lovingly handed each dinner recipient their carefully prepared supper.

“Thank you, Roth family!

“Chazak u’baruch! You kids are amazing!”

“Hashem should bless you!”

A half hour later, they arrived at their last stop on the third floor.

Yoni knocked three times and Hodaya called out, “Shalom! Are you home, Mrs. Berger? Your supper is ready!”

 

The door swung open with force. Mrs. Berger looked like the tiniest, angriest old lady they’d ever seen.

“Late! Late! Late!”

“I’m so sorry!” Mrs. Roth apologized. Tomorrow, you’ll be our first stop!”

“Fine, fine,” Mrs. Berger murmured. “Do you have my pickle?”

Yoni handed her the prepared dinner: a Styrofoam plate with a plastic fork and knife and... a single, lonely pickle.

“This is not a pickle!” Mrs. Berger snapped angrily. “It’s tiny! And it needs to be baked in an oven for 12 minutes! And then served with six salted crackers! And with a napkin!”

“It’s my fault,” Mrs. Roth said quietly. “I apologize. Tomorrow we’ll prepare it the way you like it.”

“Thank you,” Mrs. Berger said, her tiny lips sealed in a tight grimace. “You can eat this pickle, I don’t want it.” She closed the door on the Roths, leaving them open mouthed and speechless in the dim hallway.

“We’ll try again tomorrow,” Mrs. Roth said.

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