My son loved pickles when he was younger and still does. Pickles were actually the first thing he asked from Santa, and you better believe he had a big jar of pickles under that Christmas tree!
A few years ago (has it been that long?) my son and I were talking about God’s love. I told him that no matter what we’ve done, no matter who we are, God would always love us more than anything in the world. He turned to me and said, “Even more than pickle juice?”
“Yes Ben,” I answered, “Even more than pickle juice”
The look in his eyes told me that the message had gotten across. That evening I wrote this story after reading him a book before bedtime.
Farmer Ron loves pickles. Each spring, he goes out to his garden and plants cucumbers in his garden. He makes neat, straight rows in the ground where he knows the cucumbers will get just the right amount of sunlight and rain. When he has finished this job, he goes up to the house and drinks a big glass of lemonade, because planting seeds in the garden is thirsty work!
Throughout the spring and summer, Farmer Ron goes out to the garden every few days to check on his cucumbers. He wants to be sure that they are getting just the right amount of sun and rain and he especially wants to take out any weeds that decide to live next to his cucumbers because that just wouldn’t do. When this job is completed, it’s back to the porch for more lemonade, as the summer is heating up! Since all is well in Farmer Ron’s garden, he treats himself to a pickle from the refrigerator, but only one! His grandson, Ben, loves pickles too and Farmer Ron is not doing all of this work only for himself!
Ben came for a visit today and is out with Farmer Ron picking the cucumbers that are ready. Because Farmer Ron has been hard at work all summer, this doesn’t take too long. Ben looks at the cucumbers and is amazed at how small they are! Back at the porch, over lemonade and a pickle spear, Ben asks his Grandpa Ron why these cucumbers are so much smaller than the ones Mommy buys at the grocery store for her famous salads. With a chuckle, Farmer Ron tells Ben that these cucumbers are special and will make better pickles when they are done with all of the work.
Since they are done with the day’s work, they go to the neighbor’s pond and spend the rest of the day fishing and eating ham sandwiches that Grandma Irene packed for them. And boy are they good!
After a wonderful fish supper, Ben looks into the kitchen and sees that his grandma has out some things he is sure he has never seen before. She has jars and lids, a big pan on the stove, certain spices and even some onions!
Ben sees all of the care she takes as she puts each cucumber into a jar with different spices and types of vinegar and seals it tight. “These should be ready in about a week” she says, but Benjamin has waited long enough. Before he gets too upset, though, a wonderful green pickle from the refrigerator is held up in front of him and soon pickle juice was dribbling down his chin! Grandma keeps right on working into the night, even after Ben was carried out the door to go home.
A week later, the pickles were ready and Ben was anxious to get out to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. When they arrived, Ben went running in and soon he was enjoying samples of the different kinds of pickles that Grandma made. He had no idea of the time Grandpa spent getting the garden ready and weeding it throughout the spring and summer. He didn’t know that Grandma was up into the night making pickles. All he knew was that he had his pickles.