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This Monday morning is a cool 45 degrees, just to my liking. I have my wall heater on to take the chill out, while I enjoy my coffee and anticipate what I must do today. My tasks are really not ‘must do’ things as were those in days of old when every hour of ever day was busy and carried out according to necessary planning.
The new season is beginning with the oppressive heat of summer becoming a dim memory already. The beauty of our colorful hills is just beginning to show promise of whats to come. I have enjoyed the canning season because I was needed to instruct my youngest the steps in the process of harvesting and canning his first garden. We now have beautiful jars of tomatoes, salsa, sauces, peppers and pickles of cucumbers and okra. He is storing his jars in part of a large closet, having built shelves in one end. Mine are in my utility room, which I keep cool.
While preparing my shelves for my friend, Vonda, to clean I began to day dream of Grandma’s cellar full of a summer’s labors. This was a magical air-conditioned place where it’s cement walls held the cool air in and where I could escape summer’s wilting heat, chores, scoldings or hurt feelings. The dirt floor was soft and mysterious to my bare feet and I often wore the delicate mask of a spider’s web on my face and was where the silence was like a church in mid-afternoon. This was my secret place and the jars that linee the shelves were like soldiers protecting my hide out. By the light of one small window you identified the produce and labels were not needed. Best of all the jars was Mom and Ma’s mincemeat. Why is it after so long my mouth will water when I think of that taste. Nothing I have bought has even come close to imitating that perfect combination of meat, fruit and seasonings.
The work that went into producing this winter’s larder is something we girls participated in and/or observed and is something I will never forget. My mother and grandmother working in perfect harmony would prepare the contents to be preserved and in the the of summer would sterlize the canning jars in boiling water heated in a large cast iron kettle over wood heat. My sister and I watched and helped in whatever capacity we were capable of thankful not to yet be grown ups. Those two special ladies knew all there was to know of the art of canning and how sad they never left us a recipe for that mincemeat. When Mom died she had one half gallon jar left in the cellar. My sister, Jean, chose that when we were dividing Mom’s things. The last time I saw Ma’s cellar the shelves were bare and falling down except for dust and odds and ends. All that was left were memories of growing up of childhood’s easier days and of my mother’s love and devotion.
Nostalgia often rules my pen to the neglect of news worthy items so to that task I’ll return.
Church services Sunday were attended by most all our members happy to be together in worship and fellowship. Singing was glorious with a solo by Burr Taber and a duo by Jamie Dry and Ruth Taber. Dyanna inspired and instructed us with a very good sermon.
My five children with daughter-in-law, Ruth; grandchildren, Joseph Taber and Jody Weyrauch and my sister, Jean and Jimmy Frye and my niece, Jamie and Danny Dry were all at my house after church for dinner. It was a special day with some days made more special when surrounded by loved ones.
Charlie came during the week bringing sweet potatoes and taking home cornbread.
The trail ride and barbeque at Rome was enjoyed by many and especially by Marth Lee and Luna Belle, Jim Frye’s sisters. They hadn’t had such good sodas in a long time. A long thirsty day calls for good cold drinks.
Kim and Jody spent the weekend with me. Kim and Ruby Lee with Burr and Ruth went to Kansas City for a concert by Steve Earl. Burr said he must have outgrown his younger days because he would have enjoyed it more back then, but they all had a good time together.
Danny and I enjoyed River Stillwood’s news last week. I’m happy she’s healthy and back to writing her poetic descriptive articles for the paper.
Regards to all my friends and I enjoy your letters, Jo Peebles and Lorene Maloney. May God bless you all!