restricted access 23 Closing Down

From: In a Pickle

University of Wisconsin Press colophon
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Andy Meyer didn’t deserve the abuse the community dumped on him. Not only did the letters to the editor in the Link Lake Gazette take him to task for something he had no control over, but rumors began flying that high school kids had been using the basement of the pickle factory as a place to “make out,” as one rather outspoken member of the Church of the Holy Redeemed said. Of course there was not one shred of truth to that, but it was one of those rumors that worked its way through the Link Lake Tap, made the rounds of the grist mill, and only a day or so later was a topic of conversation among the women shopping at the Mercantile. The Monday after the Clayton auction Dewey John drove over to the pickle factory to talk with him about the spot-rot situation. “Everybody’s got it in for me,” Andy said. He sat in the little office with the payroll records spread out in front of him, doing the work that Helen Swanson had done so well until her disappearance. “Jake Stewart thinks I came down too hard on him, that I should have bought more of his spot-rot cucumbers. All the little 178 23 Closing Down 179 Closing Down kids with pickle patches hate me for drying up their source of money. Those old biddies from the Church of the Holy Redeemed are blaming me for what happened between the preacher and Helen. And now this rumor that I allowed high school kids to screw in the cellar—well, that’s just a crock.” Andy, usually so mild-mannered, was showing some of his mettle. “What should I do, Dewey?” he asked. “Should I write a letter to the editor giving my side of the story? I could do that.” “Don’t know if it would help,” Dewey said. “Usually these things blow over and people forget about them when some other piece of news comes along.” “Doesn’t seem to be blowing over.” “Oh, sometimes it takes a little while.” On his way back to the office, Dewey John decided to write a short editorial about the matter, hoping it would put to rest some of the rumors and outright lies that were floating around Link Lake. He wrote:      Our community has taken an incident that occurred at the local pickle factory and made a mountain out of what is surely a molehill . We know that Pastor Arthur Ketchum and Helen Swanson, both employees at the pickle factory, have come up missing. There is no evidence whatsoever that illicit parties have gone on in the pickle factory basement or that our high school students have been involved. It is hardly fair to blame Andy Meyer, the pickle factory manager, for any of this. Those who know Andy consider him a young man of the highest integrity—this is his fourth year managing the factory, and no one has but the highest praise for his work. Some people also blame Andy for the spot-rot problem. That is absurd. People have blamed him for refusing to buy their infected cucumbers. Do they expect the H. H. Harlow Pickle Company to purchase a spoiled product? We should all be thankful that the Harlow Pickle Company has a factory here, and that they have chosen an upstanding person in Andy Meyer to manage it. The same day the newspaper came out with the editorial supporting Andy, J. W. Johnson pulled up to the pickle factory loading dock in his green pickup and slowly got out. He walked with his head down, big shoulders slumped. He stomped up the stairway and slowly walked to the office where Andy was working on the books. “Hi there, Andy,” he said in his gravely voice. “Hi,” Andy answered, looking up from the salting records. He didn’t remember Johnson ever calling him Andy before. “What can I do for you?” Andy expected a tongue-lashing about the preacher affair and how it was blemishing the good reputation of H. H. Harlow. He thought Johnson would say something like, “What would Mother Harlow have to say about all these goings on?” “I’m afraid I’ve got bad news, Andy,” Johnson said. He had a kind of hangdog look about him, his eyes were watery, and his face was red. “Bad news?” Andy responded. “Yup, worst kind of news.” Johnson was fiddling with his green cap...


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