The one thing I have always promised myself is to “never eat a pickled egg!” And there is a very good reason and explanation behind this promise to myself. Many a moons ago, I lived in a big city up in the Northwestern United States. While I lived in this city, I saw many things, I consumed many things and I indulged in well, many things. Then it came time to depart this NW city for a small rural mountain town in the Northwest corner of Colorado before my first plane ride over the big Pacific Ocean.
During my time in the unnamed rural mountain town in the NW corner of Colorado, I lived with my eldest brother and his roommate Earl. Earl (who
se real name escapes my memory but is just as good as “Earl”) had a collection of jars sitting or rather fermenting in the pantry. I never asked him or my brother about those jars, as I just wasn’t sure that I really wanted to know what was inside them?
Then one sunny afternoon, I was straggling about the house and decided to go into the pantry. That is when I spotted a very discoloured, extremely purple large maraschino cherry jar. The thing was immense. And it had an emanating smell like a waste water treatment plant. I stood there, eyeing this jar, wondering what in the hell was inside it? And why did I have to put my cereal boxes in this same cupboard?
As I continued staring at the jar, I did not hear, Earl and my brother enter the house. Nor did I hear them approaching the kitchen, as I stood slightly bewildered by the jar. My eyes must have been sweating from glaring at the jar for so long, as Earl’s deep Texan voice cut through the air with a big “How-do-yea-do, this after-noon?“
The BIG BOOMING TEXAN VOICE spooked the bejesus out of me!! I jumped on the spot. Knocking into the shelf with all of the jars of “Earl” and nearly crapped my pants. “What’cha lookin’ at in there?” asked my brother. “Honestly, I have no idea. What is in this purple maraschino jar?”
Mistake Number One, which I have remembered the rest of my adult life: You should never-ever, ever ask a guy from Texas what’s in his pickling jar.
“That there are 6-month old, pickled eggs in beet juice. Would you like one?” Earl inquired. “Ummmmm, no thank you,” I sputtered grabbing my damn cereal box and wondering what was going to happen next? Of course, I knew what was going to happen. Earl grabbed himself a fork and that jar and begun to spin it around. The top twisted off, all hell of a smell broke loose from that jar and instantaneously made the kitchen smell of pickling juice and eggs! Sitting here today, I can still see and smell that YUK-jar. Earl dipped a fork into the jar and began thrusting the fork into the pitch purple darkness. With a great gusto of force, he pulled out the fork and along with it a slightly lavender shade of egg.
“Are you sure, you don’t want a nibble?” says Earl. “Um, yea. Think, I’ll pass,” I begin to say when my brother says, “what happened to your iron stomach? You always eat anything. Why not try this?”
The peer-pressure was mounting from my brother and his buddy Earl, to use my “iron stomach” and eat just half of one of these stinky, purple, fermented, beet-juice 6-month brewed eggs. It was precisely at this moment, that Earl swung the jar below my chin on its way to the kitchen table when a rumbling deep down in my bowel caught whiff of that disgusting purple pickled smell and I erupted like a volcano on a hot Hawaiian Island into the kitchen sink. There was no stopping my system purged my breakfast for everyone in the room to see and smell. And that was the last time Earl or my brother ever tried suckering me into eating a purple pickled egg.
~ James Curtis