My Dad and The Last Pickle

19 Sep

It had been at least twenty-five years since we’d been there, maybe more.

I was driving back from a meeting near the heart of the city and knew it was close by. I didn’t have to go that way. I could have taken the shortcut and made my way back to the freeway, avoiding traffic.

But I made a left turn instead.

And there it was … the yellow letters against a green backdrop. Not block letters, but smooth cursive writing.


Langer's Delicatessen.

Langer’s Delicatessen.


Every other week.

We’d sit in the third booth on the left.

Sun was always shining. Didn’t seem to be cloudy whenever we were there, always bright, always busy.

An older waitress with dark rimmed glasses and red lipstick would greet my Dad and call him honey before taking our order. She’d call everybody honey. We’d start off with a lemonade for myself, cup of coffee for Dad. Black, two sugars.

We’d browse through the menu, but already knew what we wanted. I’d get the chicken noodle soup and club sandwich. Dad would get the pastrami with cold slaw and the pickle. He liked pickles, it was the highlight of his lunch combination, to enjoy a pickle with pastrami. Pickles were an awesome part of lunch. We’d sit and talk about life. Elementary and early middle school life seemed complicated and dramatic back then. A Days of Our Lives kind of saga.

I thought life was difficult.

Dad would do the Dad thing.

He listened.

He saw me. He heard me. And what I had to say was important back then, even when it wasn’t.

This was before the teen years of course when ridiculous battles over tone of voice began.

We’d sit in our booth and talk. Sometimes laugh, sometimes people watch, sometimes just enjoy each other’s company in silence or between pickle crunches.

I missed having lunches. Didn’t realize how important they’d be to me.

I sat there at the stop light thinking.

I miss my friend. I miss someone eating pastrami across the way from me and listening.

I miss someone offering their last pickle just to see me smile.

I was tempted to park the car and go inside, just to get a feel for things. Maybe sit in the third booth, on the left. Order a chicken noodle soup and club sandwich. But I knew it wouldn’t be the same. I couldn’t manage to go in, a heavy sadness hit me at the stop light and I wished so much that my Dad was still here so that we could talk.

I made a right turn and headed to the freeway. Perhaps I’d return with my son and daughter and we could have lunch. I’d order the pastrami this time and probably give them my last pickle.


6 Responses to “My Dad and The Last Pickle”

  1. Norm 2.0 September 20, 2014 at 5:04 AM #

    Great post! I absolutely loved this. Brought back great memories of little traditions I had with my dad. Yes, take your kids & give them memories they’ll cherish forever 🙂

    • The Guat October 7, 2014 at 9:55 PM #

      Thanks. It was definitely a walk down memory lane for me too. I’m glad I was able to spark some memories for you. Hanging out with Dads is such a great experience. I was lucky to have these moments. Now I’m trying my best to have them with my kids.

  2. lameadventures September 20, 2014 at 8:56 PM #

    You definitely must take the Little Guats there just so that they know more about this special place in your youth and their grandfather. Added bonus: you can savor more pickles moving forward with the next generation. The pickles live on in you and your kids!

    • The Guat September 23, 2014 at 12:01 AM #

      You’re right. I definitely have to take him there. Just hoping that they’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Hoping they’ll like the pickles 🙂 Thanks for the comment, much appreciated when you stop by to cheer me up. Have a good one.

  3. Jackie Cangro September 21, 2014 at 6:28 PM #

    What a lovely memory. Isn’t it funny how these simple, ordinary moments stay with us? I think they’re often more meaningful and more special than big trips to Disneyland or dozens of gifts under the Christmas tree. I hope you do get to take your kids to the Pickle Palace. 🙂

    • The Guat September 22, 2014 at 6:17 PM #

      Oh my God I was just thinking that exact same thing! Hoping to take them one day, shoot maybe this month. Thanks for stopping by and reading about the awesome pickles.

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