What a Pickle

Who would think that a pickle would be such a pivotal vegetable? Well, actually just a slice of pickle or a couple slices. Is it really a vegetable? Anyway, I loved dill pickles in my Happy Meal burger as a child. There were two, always two.

Eight years later I place two dill pickles on each of the six hamburgers and the six cheeseburgers I’m making. Then I stack the buns on top and slide the tray along the shelf above the grill and under the warming light. I run around to the front of the stainless-steel holding bin and grab the tray. Quickly I wrap them all in their color-coded waxed paper using that patented technique they teach us on the video tape.

As I slide the last of the cheeseburgers into the holding bin and place the timing card, I notice the new girl snatching pickles from my work table. “Hey!” I yell. She looks at me and bites the pickle in her hand, defiant. “Leave my pickles alone,” I tell her. She smiles and strolls back to her drive-through window.

For the remainder of the month I often catch her with her hand in my pickle jar when I turn my back. When I remonstrate her to stop stealing my pickles, she holds eye contact and smiles.

Near the end of the month I shared my frustration with one of the older female employees as we sat in the crew room. She smiled at me and gave a chuckle. “She likes you,” she explained. “But she isn’t going to say it or do more. The ball is in your court. Ask her out!”

I stare, incredulous, amazed I didn’t realize. Now my thoughts shift. I reassess the looks, the smile, the intent. Maybe my coworker was right, maybe I should ask her.

Thirty-six years later I ask my wife if she wants dill pickle on her burger, only to find she has her fingers in the pickle jar already. “Will it ever end?” I ask her. “No,” she responds, “do you want it to?”

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