I remember canning.
Mama had jars, lids, rings, spoons and pans all over her huge kitchen. She let me hand her the “rings” (screw bands) which I wore like bracelets up and down my then skinny arms. The temperature in there had to be at least 100 degrees, but I do not remember that. I remember her praise when I managed to stay focused on my job and hand her the ring on time. I felt so grown up.
I also remember disappointments, especially the cherry jelly that turned out like taffy. MY we loved that. I remember our neighbor, Eula, tanned and in flip-flops, who made her own catsup. And dear old Mrs. Secrest, who always gave me hand-pumped cold drinks from the well inside her dark, quiet house.
For some reason I’ve kept those memories fondly. I’ve tried to resurrect them in my own adult life. I do canning. I make jelly and catsup. We have a well. I want this for my children’s heritage. I wonder why.
It’s not just that the food is better. It’s not only that it is more healthful. And it is not simply that I grew up with it.
It is the soil–the harvest–the glorious, breath-taking heat–the oceans of perspiration replenished by oceans of teas and juices. It’s working together, sharing . . .
Oh! I know what it is! It is the fellowship with those who have gone before and those who are to come, stepping into my place in a long, long line of real people living a real life, marching to the rhythm of summer.
So all my children and I would march down to the garden to harvest God’s blessing for each day.
I hope you will join us. Then together we will all put back something for those special winter days when only that which is straight from the garden will do.
Tomorrow: Six Tricks to Get You out of the Canning Kitchen Faster!