Story: Mama’s Jars


     Growing up, our family always had a huge garden.
     All types of vegetables were grown. Everyone had to join the work
Force — you could not escape the toil that it took to bring this garden to
The kitchen table. The weeding never stopped. The minute you were old
Enough to grasp a hoe, your spring and summer changed forever. You soon
Learned what was a weed and what was not.
     At harvest time every member of the family picked, shucked, peeled,
Cored, and snapped. Whatever was needed, you did it. There was no getting
Out of the canning season. Believe me all four of our young inventive
Minds thought of every possible excuse to bale out!
      My main job was washing the jars. As the only girl in the family, my
Hands were always the smallest. The mason jars were always super dirty
Because they were stored in the basement and under the edge of the house in
The galvanized wash tubs.
     I hated that job! That water was always scalding hot, and no matter
How much I complained, Mama always told me that it had to be that hot to
Kill the germs, and that my small hands could reach every bit of the round
Bottom of the jars.
     My Mama was a wizard at canning! She always had a basement full of
Canned goods, from homemade vegetable soup to beef and pork, to jellies and
Jams, to homemade apple butter. You could find any kind of pickle on my
Mama’s shelf. Why, you could even find homemade tomato juice there.
     Nothing could compare with that taste of freshness on a cold winter’s
Day. All that was needed was a pan full of Mama’s homemade yeast rolls!
     My Mama had a great assembly line. She had four of the best workers
That childbearing could produce. She kept us busy and out of trouble in
One felled swoop! We never came home from school and flopped down in front
Of the TV, and we never spent our summers out on the streets. We came
Home and changed from our school clothes and went right to work.
     I see nothing wrong in her reasoning. But, golly gee, she could have
At least left me with the knowledge of what to do with all of those
Vegetables after I picked, shucked, shelled, and husked them! At the very
Least, she could have told me what “cold packing” was, and maybe even
Taught me how to make those wonderful yeast rolls.
     Just what was I supposed to pass on to my daughter?  What is she
Supposed to pass on to my granddaughter?
     Well, thank goodness that I was smart enough to figure out how to put
Things in a zip-lock freezer bag!!

             — Judy Kiser  


Author: Marie Yates Taylor

I'm living on the Texas Gulf Coast, where weather quickly changes. I post weather, disaster-related infos I receive, and weather history. And ... much more. Add your stories, and post along with me about your area too. Surviving is all about the public and informed preparedness.

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