WRITER’S NOTE: There is a very special lady living in the City of Cook and on April 18 she celebrates her birthday. This poem entitled “Irene’s Pickles” is dedicated to “Auntie Irene” Baumgartner. Happy Birthday!
Twas just another April morning when someone gave a passing warning,
“Irene will have a birthday next. What should we do? We are perplexed.”
The answer was, “Don’t have a clue. Let’s ask her daughter what she’ll do.”
But Gail said, “Don’t think I’m rude, ‘cause I took care of gifts and food.
We’ll have some cake that’s served in cups, Mom’s pickles and a ham from Zups.
A program and that silly stuff just ain’t my bag. I’ve done enough!”
So there we sat at half past nine with little ready and lesser time.
When came a groan, “Oh what’s the use.” I knew twas time for Dr. Seuss.
So hang on folks, you’ll feel the flow of Dr Seuss bip-bop-bing-low.
A man sat at the Country Store upon the bench next to the door
So thinking he could use a friend I shared the bench – the other end.
And then to get him to say more I shook his hand, spit on the floor.
And said, “Would you like a pickle sir? These are the best you will concur.
They are as good as they can be – might start some talk twix you and me.”
He quipped, ”Why on earth would I do such? Your request, my man – a little much.
I have no need to eat such things. So please, let’s talk of other things” So then I said, “What if you knew, this pickle’s from a secret brew
And something else that will amaze, made by the queen of Timber Days
Whose grandkids say she is the bestest and that her heart is big as Texas
Great-grand kids also sup on these! So take one, taste one, try one please!
“Oh no I won’t!” the stranger said about the food he seemed to dread.
“Not a whiff will reach my snout so leave me now, go on, get out.”
“But sir” I said, “Just have one bite. I promise, it is pure delight And if you don’t enjoy it all, I’ll leave you quick, I will not stall,
But you should know this food ain’t junk. Ask Gary, Gail or even Punk
And if one’s feeling kinda fickle all it takes is Grandma’s pickle.”
He growled, “Why don’t you seem to understand my simple, sincere “NO” command?
Cause pickles never met me well, they make my little tummy swell
And if you don’t leave on the double that pickle is your least of trouble.”
So with these words, I came to see he feared the pickle more than me
Then I replied, “OK, I’ll go, but it’s too bad you’ll never know
The goodness that Irene has made – this piece of heaven dressed in jade.
He yelled, “Hold on man! You must be kidding! And yes, I will oblige your bidding.
You didn’t say Irene made these! Forgive me, may I have one please?
I’ve heard her goodness far and wide and listen I won’t kid you Clyde
That goodness is too often wasted. Sometimes you see it, sometimes it’s tasted
And those who’ve never had the feel of something good and something real
Are often left to wonder why they never took the risk to try.”
Then slowly he clenched down to bite. The smile on his face was slight.
His eyes were closed as in a dream of happy things and things serene
And slowly his eyes woke to see. He turned and stared them right at me.
“Please tell Irene for me kind sir her pickles are as good as her
And really, I can’t say enough. This is truly good and honest stuff.”
So “Happy Birthday Irene!” Your goodness shows! Zippity do da click-clack-close.
Leo Wilenius lives in rural Cook, MN, with his wife Lindy. He is retired from Lake Country Power in Mt. Iron.