Wednesday, August 21, 2013


There are a lot of things you take for granted during your growing up years. Some of it is youthful ignorance, born simply that you don't have any way, yet, of knowing that these things won't last forever, that they aren't everyone's experience, that their mundane and expected existence will one day be the cornerstone of nostalgia.

It's no secret that I grew up on an idyllic plot of paradise. A lush little piece of property from which my industrious grandparents coaxed forth all manner of produce. I ran wild in the cool grasses, climbed the low limbs of apple trees decades older than me, spun around under the sort of blue skies that only exist during the long days of summer until my dizzy self collapsed to the ground to gaze at the cotton ball clouds while the world slowly stopped that delicious wobbly whirling.

I didn't know any better that, as the first sun-warm harvests began piling up, a summer rite of passage wouldn't just always take place, sure as the seasons marched across calendar after calendar. We don't know and we never know, not until we grow old enough to look behind us at the trail of days, full to the brim of memories we cherish now, because we don't think they will ever be "just memories." We never think we'll kick ourselves for not having taken the opportunity for Gram's careful, patient instruction, grasping it greedily in both hands, soaking in the wisdom of a life so well spent, so rich with treasures. Because who thinks of that kind of thing as opportunity when you're a child and a teenager? Those aren't the "what if"-s we've considered at such tender ages. Without her gentle guidance to teach me the ways of the generations that long preceded me, I am intimidated. There are a thousand books and tutorials, but none able to provide the confidence that her knowledge would have imparted, and so I don't venture down this road, even in a small-scale attempt at recreating a shadow of my own Days Long Gone.

Gram would take all that abundance and fill jar after jar, sanitizing and sealing, canning and cooling. Glass jars with their metal rings, preserving the summer bounty and the sun-up-to-sun-down work of hands in the soil. Those jars of green beans and bread-and-butter pickles and a dozen varieties of jams and jellies and relishes would line rough-built but sturdy wooden shelves in the cellar, waiting to fill us full through the colder days ahead.

I can close my eyes and still hear the pop of the lids sealing. Some sounds are so deeply woven into the fabric of our being that they are time machines. And still those jars are filling me, this time my soul instead of my stomach. I know that I could learn on my own, these ways of my ancestors, but even the satisfaction of self-taught achievement wouldn't bottle what I'm really wishing to preserve: days I'll never get back, lessons I'll never be taught, stories that I didn't record, and minutes spent in the kitchen with a lady I miss every day.

3 with their own thoughts:

*krystyn* Wednesday, August 21, 2013 9:59:00 AM  

Sweet story so perfectly written. I have some similar memories as well. I'd do anything for those days again too.

Janet Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:24:00 PM  

Dawn, may I share this on FB in honor of my aunt who passed this morning?

~**Dawn**~ Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:26:00 PM  

Absolutely, Janet. I am honored that you would like to. =)

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