There had been a lot of talk in the garden about the harvest, and where the various fruits and vegetables would end up during the long cold months when the winter sun peeked only briefly over the horizon. The apples had become increasingly hard to live with as they went on and on about hard cider, and prize winning pies. The walnuts were almost unbearable as they waxed nostalgic about some of their numbers being kept for more than a year in bags in the dry cupboards of the farmer’s kitchen. Even the humble potatoes, normally reserved and thoughtful, were wondering aloud among themselves, eagerly anticipating wintering over in the dark closets of the farmer’s cellar and being fried into holiday Latkes.
The cucumber’s friends, the thin-skinned summer vegetables like the Early Girl tomatoes and the Pattypan squash were long gone. Had they been there, they were far too conceited and busy being the darlings of the early summer to concern themselves with anything like the fate of the lowly overgrown cucumber. The cucumber had been told again and again that to be harvested and pickled by the farmer’s wife was a very useful thing, and the sooner the better. The most prized pickles were made from the smallest cucumbers, it was a considered an honor to be harvested early. The cucumber had resisted, hiding at the bottom of the vine, and as the fall harvest was coming to an end he was reminded daily of his ultimate fate; not on the holiday dinner table or tucked away in the root cellar, but of ending up in the compost heap with the useless bits of grass clippings, a tosser.
By late October there were only the winter squashes left in the garden, Butternut and Acorn, Turban and Hubbard. Then, one cold morning, they were carted away, and only a large pumpkin remained. The cucumber called to him from across the garden, “Looks like it’s just you and me now, pumpkin.” The pumpkin laughed a deep hollow laugh. Days passed and the farmer no longer came to the garden to care for it, the cucumber started to feel a little anxious. “Pumpkin,” the cucumber called out, “Are we going to be left here to rot? All the other vegetables are gone and the farmer doesn’t come around to care for us any more.” The pumpkin, in a deep and thoughtful voice said, “I am a Halloween pumpkin, and soon the farmer’s children will come and roll me away to the harvest dance, later the farmer’s wife will cook me into pie for the holiday table. I have had a good life, cucumber, and I am happy to be useful.” The cucumber began to whimper and cry, “I will be all alone, not even a tosser on the compost pile, left to wither, useless.” The pumpkin was quiet for a long while, then he said, “Cucumber, I am going to be harvested and will leave you, but you are not alone, the frost will come, his name is Jack.”
The pumpkin was gone by mid day, rolled away by laughing children and the cucumber felt very alone, shivering in the dark. The cucumber was awakened, startled to find that he was being covered in a sparkling frost. It was Jack Frost! He had come just like the pumpkin said he would. “Jack,” the cucumber called out, and the frost man stopped. “Help me. I am all alone in the garden.” Jack Frost came closer, and the cucumber felt himself being nipped, “Yowee,” the cucumber cried. Shivering, he said, “Help me find a use so I can leave the garden.” Jack Frost winked and touched him with his frosty paint brush. The cucumber felt overjoyed and let out a loud, “Yodle~Ay Eee~Ooo!” Jack Frost quipped, “You can sing?” Jack Frost carried the Yodeling Pickle on his flurry of snowflakes all across the world to entertain him as he worked.
Often at this time of year you can hear the pickles song on the wind as Jack Frost nips him with his frosty brush. Today, in many places, a pickle is traditionally included as a Christmas tree decoration, and some children receive a Yodeling Pickle in their Christmas stockings or as Hanukkah gifts from their families and friends.*k.d.
:::Yodeling Pickles can be heard at the Erie Art Museum Gift Shop, and purchased for the startlingly low price of $13.72
Yodeling Pickles are available at the Erie Art Museum Gift Shop
Special Membership Discounts Apply