We were in a store recently that had a few oddities. Ostrich eggs, buffalo burger, soap made from iceberg melted water. This store is what some would call a high-end grocery store with specialty nooks and crannies, just chalk full of stuff that was so outside our comfort zone, so I’m sure we looked 100 percent doofus-like. Among some of the many things we saw was a pistachio bar. There must have been two dozen different flavored pistachios to choose from. Plain, salted, salt and pepper, hot pepper in four heat settings, lemon wheat grass, garlic, onion, at least three different cheese flavors. And some flavors I still have no idea what they are. Amazing people really take the pistachio so seriously.
I walked around the display at least three times and never bought so much as a shell. I was sorely disappointed at the whole thing. There was not one red pistachio in the offering. So what happened to the red pistachios? When I first learned of pistachios, which I admit was more than 10 but less than 40 years ago, they were the prettiest red color. I can still see that color. I would bet there’s no other red color that would be the same pistachio red. When you ate them you came away with split to the quick, sore, red fingernails and dyed red fingers that lasted for days. But in this new aged store there was not one red pistachio to be had. Ah, nuts! I’m on a mission now.
Since our visit to that store I have checked out the pistachios available in other stores I have shopped. Pistachios — yes. But not the red ones. Just regular pistachio-colored pistachios. Tan shells with green nuts inside just waiting to be gobbled up. Not to harp on this subject, but how can this happen, the red ones disappearing? What is next? Will I soon go into a store and find vanilla ice cream has gone into oblivion?
To discover who’s behind the disappearance of red pistachios, I went to that all-knowing all-empowered source we all have become familiar with. The Funk and Wagnall encyclopedia. No, no, not really. I actually went to and was informed by the internet some time ago there was an all-hands-on-deck alert about an additive called Red Dye No. 5. It was found to cause something bad, sometimes, under some circumstances. Therefore to save us all from bad things, sometimes under some circumstances we will never have red pistachios again. Since I can still talk to all my pistachio-eating friends without an Ouija board, maybe Red Dye No. 5 is getting a bad rap. But it isn’t my call, so I eat plain, tan pistachios. My thumbnails still hurt after I have dug through a bag, but the red is a memory.
There are things we can do things about and things we just take, as they say, lying down. Like the end of the VW Bug, the original ones. Or the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Maybe and more recently the cursive writing classes in elementary school. The Bug has been replaced by a more up to date version. More creature comforts, Sirius Satellite Radio and comfortable seats. But when we were young we didn’t care what the seats felt like, just as long as the engine ran we were good to go. But again I’m taking the wrong road ...
I can see where it’s probably okay to go without the Sears Catalog. After all, we don’t use outhouses any longer, so the need for extra paper isn’t as extreme as it was long ago. And shopping on the internet has replaced many catalogs, saving like a zillion trees. Except in the fall when my mailbox gets crammed with Christmas catalogs.
That leaves cursive writing classes. This has come up in my circle of acquaintances in the past year or so more than a few times. Without cursive knowledge, how can you “write” a signature? I remember drawing slanted ovals over and over again to get the hang of the beauty of the flow of words. I believe it was in the fourth grade we got started on learning the cursive curve. I remember seeing the teacher write my name on the black board with bright white chalk. I was apparently spellbound by the whole experience and was sitting still. Imagine that, me, calm, cool and collected paying attention. Not! Anyway, she wrote, “Trina are you ready to write like this?” How pretty it looked and still does.
If you know kids and you get the chance, stop and teach them about red pistachios and cursive writing. They will be amazed and never forget you.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org