Two weeks ago a solitary pickle jar showed up at the corner of Irwin Loop and the Palmer Wasilla highway. It was odd but not notable. Maybe a week later it was curiously joined by another jar of pickles, of a different brand. The team of two jars sat around on the corner intersection for a few days and suddenly they were joined by a third jar of pickles.
People were taking notice. There were some pickle selfies. It was shared on the Palmer Alaska Buzz facebook page asking the question why was there a pickle gathering? The Pickle Posting went crazy. Soon all sorts of explanations and conspiracy theories were offered up.
What was the point of this pickle adventure? Was it initiated by a love of pickles or perhaps a pregnancy statement? Was it a social science experiment? Was it community art? Was it a meeting of the rinds? Or a sacrifice to the cross-roads spirits? Was it a memorial? Was it a public pickle exchange? Maybe it was a political statement because all three jars were different brands. Or maybe it was a call for help because someone is in a pickle.
And then the jars multiplied. There was never a dill moment.
James Ahumada got huge responses with his statement of a “Shrine to Brine.” Sarah Aileen quickly responded, “It’s not a big dill!” James Jones suggested its might be the start of a community pickle library— “Take a pickle, leave a pickle. It’s a neighborly thing to do.” Tim Schorr offered “Peter Piper parked a peck of pickled pitchers in Palmer. Kati Sanders suggested they might be juvenile DILLequents. Sara Stewart noted that these pickles are Claussen a commotion. Tim Rockey, newspaper journalist spotted them 10 days ago and said, “A jar of pickles on the side of the road; I like that sentence.” Witty comments and clever responses overrode the posting. It was relishly shared and re-shared.
Suddenly there was a pickle status update. And a subsequent pickle invasion. FIVE jars were now at the intersection. It was referred to as multiplying road dill. And a pickle party. Palmer was laughing hard as the jars expanded and were rearranged.
The Palmer Pickle Mystery amped up. Five jars at the intersection. What did it mean? People started quoting familiar lyrics, “I don’t want a pickle, I just want to ride on my motor-sickle.” Some folks explained that every year there are always pickles at that intersection. (Apparently the pickle jar “on the side of the road” isn’t uniquely Palmer. It’s happened before in Missouri. There is a national Team Pickle with members from the states, Hawaii and the U.K.)
Then, just as suddenly as they had arrived, two jars were gone, leaving only three jars. Now people insisted on calling in the Palmer Private Detectives. It was now a pickle crisis and a pickle caper. The announcement read, “Stop the Pilfering Pickle Pirates in Palmer! Procure the Palmer Police, pronto!” There was hearty applause from all the pickle post stalkers. Someone suggested that the pickles were fill for local potholes or dill-holes. Some folks were very worried. Had Palmer been pickle jacked? Who stole the pickle jars?
This whole pickle pandemonium may be a local standing question of 2021—because as one commenter said, “Nothing else matters now.” Was this a pickle sacrifice for the pickle gods? Was it merely items for a scavenger hunt? Was it a Vlassic protest? Did a strange hill-dilly set this pickle chaos in motion? Was there a feral dill-pusher afoot? Would this pickle intersection and pickle pandemic go down in history? Would it spark a Palmer Pickle parade, Palmer pickle events and eventual Pickle gatherings?
This silly mystery deserves some discussion. Pickle jar status is undetermined at the moment of the writing of this column. Frankly anything could happen. The Palmer pickle puzzle will be added to one of the great unsolved mysteries or folktales of Palmer. (There was the grotto-lunker of the 70’s; the donut wars of the 80’s; and the lost filial water tower ball of the 90’s.) Palmer’s pickle prognosis for a Pickle-odean is great and we relish updates!
Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff with you at the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Wednesday, Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Text 907.315.3222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.