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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Every Jar a Victory, Year 3

Every Memorial Day (or as near to that date as possible), it's the same thing at the Fox household: time to make the jam!

First, out to Sargeant's Berry Farm, to pick strawberries.

Winter's reach into early spring made it a less than stellar year for their strawberries, and unfortunately killed off much of their other season produce as well. And then, the unexpected hot weather in spring resulted in the strawberries they did ripening earlier than usual. So by the time we got out there, their smaller-than-usual crop had already been picked over a fair amount.

Still, we were able to get enough for our needs. (Thank heavens we picked about twice as much last year; we still have jam left over.)

Then, it's back home, for a couple of hours of cutting, mashing, cooking, and steaming.

The results, however, are as wonderful as always.

It occurs to me that there is, if one chooses to stretch the associations a little bit, something appropriate about the fact that we've made this family tradition of ours a Memorial Day occasion. Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day, a day to honor the sacrifice and remember the loss of those who died in the Civil War. Over the past century and a half, it has evolved somewhat into a general day of remembrance--of those who served and have passed on, of course, but also of all those generations gone who have left us something, and to whom we have the responsibility of passing on something worth remembering ourselves. Well, our family has developed an occasion for remembering, remembering the hours my wife's family would spend canning and preserving fruit and vegetables of all sorts for the winter, remembering the pear trees on my grandmother's property, and the fun we'd have in clambering up them, seeking the best fruit to go into the jar. It's fun. It's something we can do all together. It's something that gets everyone outside, with their hands in the dirt, searching for those little treasures of red and green. And perhaps--we can only hope--it's something that will become a part of what our children will someday memorialize with their own families as well.

And, if nothing else, maybe they'll remember the jam.

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