Meet Barb

Today, I am so excited to introduce you to my childhood friend’s mom, Barb, who has stolen my heart with her homemade pickles since I was a little child!

Again and again and again. I could eat those pickles all day long, every day, all year round.

Those pickles, there when I was a child. On the island when we would come in from swimming in our kiddie pool. Pickles with tuna salad sandwiches. Pickles in the basement after a birthday party game of pin the tail on the donkey, all cut up in a little bowl with sloppy joes. Pickles at graduation parties and Christmas parties and family nights all gathered around on couches in innocence. Pickles after swimming in the sun, pickles after we stuffed our mouths full of Skittles, pickles all around.

Those pickles, there in the early years of our adulthood. That night we came to visit, childhood friends all gathered, now me with baby in hand. Pickles were there, yes indeed.

Those pickles, there at the wedding table. Sunflowers and tents and faces from the past. Childhood friends now women all grown up, at a distance. Girlish memories undeniably strong at that childhood home, yet faint in the presence of husbands and fiancees and teachers all retired. We’re adults now. Lives have moved forward, but the pickles? They remain the same. On the wedding table, ever present, ever drawing me in to take more and more, just as delicious as always.

Those pickles, on the table at an unforgettable baby shower. The guest of honor not present, my heart torn and conflicted and unsure and worn down, and desperate for answers and understanding. The familiarity of that pickle, the familiarity of that house and those faces, all at odd ease to embrace a little hope child in the midst of much uncertainty.

Those pickles, often on my mind. A basket of pickles at a silent auction reminds me of Barb. I wish I knew how to make pickles like that, like Barb. Thoughts of my ideal self surface. The mom that cans pickles, the mom that brings her children and her childrens’ friends delight in such simple goodness.

Those pickles, a surprise. At Christmas, an unexpected gift. To: Amy. From: Barb. Barb gave mom a can and sent a can for me. A smile, a real smile. What more could I ask for but a can of the best pickles ever?

Those pickles, I finished the last one last week. Treasured each bite again and again. Stood still in my kitchen and soaked it in. The awesomeness of that last pickle.

In all the change, the pickle remains the same. It has always remained the same. Always predictable, always delectable, always just right, always satisfying, always a delight.

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:31


It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another Meet Me At This Moment for Five Minute Friday post! I spend the last hour of Thursday chatting it up with a group of authentic and inspiring Five Minute Friday bloggers on Twitter (#FiveMinuteFriday #fmfparty). One minute past midnight EST Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker gives us a single word prompt and we all write a blog post centered around that word. We write for five minutes, and five minutes only! In the wjords of Lisa, this is “unscripted. unedited. real.” You meet me at this moment in time…my thoughts and opinions, my joys and sorrows, my dilemmas and dreams. And I receive one of the greatest gifts ever…a regular outlet for processing and expressing my thoughts without constantly editing myself. This is my life, my perspective, unfiltered.

The word of the week is AGAIN. (OK, I admit, I went more like 10 minutes today instead of 5! Forgive me, I had a lot to say about those pickles!)

  1. Ruth Lofgren says:

    Amy – I was moved by your article “Meet Barb.” I am especially pleased to find out how many people love those pickles which started with Margaret Mages, my mother, back in the 1940s, if not before. Your mother Carol said she had heard about them when she taught in Morton where my mother lived.

    Also, kudos to Barb who has always been the Kool-
    Aid Mom on the block and now Kool-Aid Grandmother!

    Very poetic writing – who were your English teachers?

    Ruth L.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Ruth: Thanks for stopping by! When you mentioned the original recipe came from your mother, I recalled my mom telling me that years ago! How fascinating the connections that go way back with those pickles! Blessings to you and/or your mom for sharing the recipe; I have enjoyed those delicious pickles for my entire life and hope I can learn to can someday to make my own pickles. Will you and Barb be sharing the recipe with Jamie & Ann so the tradition can continue if they choose? Also, thank you for your kind compliment about my writing. I certainly had GREAT English teachers! 🙂 Amy

  2. Karin says:

    Oh this is so sweet, Amy! What a beautiful *thank you*. You reminded me of my mom’s pickles… she has early dementia and doesn’t cook much anymore. Such good childhood memories you just brought back. Thank you and bless you today. 🙂

  3. Ann Schwartz says:

    Where is her blog

  4. Ann Schwartz says:

    Wonderful writing

  5. Deb Hathaway Hunter says:

    My sister-in-law send me homemade pickles every year for Christmas… it just would NOT be the holidays without them. It is nice to read there are more pickle lovers out there! Thanks for sharing a part of you.

  6. Dolly Lee says:

    Hi Amy,
    What a beautiful tribute to Barb…and your love of her pickles…such love an so many fond memories…P.S. Thanks for tweeting the Shaun Groves post…a gift from God.

  7. Barbara Matalamaki says:

    Oh, Amy, Bill and I both have tears in our eyes, and I am crying on my iPad. What a sweet thing to do…Loved the pickle praise…you are treasure!

  8. Carol Femling says:

    Love your blog today, Amy! Love Barb’s pickles myself! I just texted Barb and told her to read this. I know she will be pleased. 🙂

  9. Fiona says:

    Love that you use your words to honour and exhort! What a gift!

  10. denise says:

    Such a sweet tribute.

  11. Hi Amy! I’m so glad to have found your blog through FMF. What wonderful memories those pickles evoke! Want to send me a jar 😉

    • Amy says:

      Aly, I am honored that you stopped by all the way from Guatemala! I just checked out your blog and am really interested in the work you are doing. May you be tremendously blessed as you live out your life in faith being a voice for those in need.

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