Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Golden Days




It’s my favorite time of the year. Golden September. And we just finished my favorite summertime task... canning peaches.

How clearly I remember our first peach canning extravaganza! 15 years ago, in the wide kitchen of the Michigan farmhouse we called home. Undoubtedly, it would have been easier for Mother to have sent us out to play on the sweeping lawn, while she and my aunt tried their hands at canning. But no, she let us all roll up our sleeves and “help”.
Help we did. We helped to make the biggest mess the kitchen had ever seen. Peach juice dripping down arms and running off elbows. Pits and peels in piles. The floor was soon covered with peach slime. Our solution? We trooped over to the mudroom and came back with our rubber boots on. What fun we had sliding around until Mother (shortly) brought the mop into view!
I recall the memories every year since, and shake my head. How did she do it? How could she thank us so sincerely when the job was done and lead us to feel that the golden jars were as much a product of our work as hers?

She did it because she saw men and women in the making. She knew that before competence must come patient training. She knew by faith that investing time and bearing with inconvenience and giving warm encouragement would bind our hearts to hers. And she was right.
So now we can peaches without slime on the floor, juice from head to foot, broken jars and time waste. We still have great fun!
But more importantly, she has our hearts for keeps. It’s because of the peach canning days 15 years ago and countless words, actions, prayers and experiences before and since, that I can lay my head on her heart and talk my heart out for an hour, as I did the other night. I hear her steady heartbeat. I know that heart loves me. When she opens her mouth and gives me counsel, I’m poised and ready to listen (even if it’s “hard”).
And so there is much to thank heaven for in these golden days. Happy memories. Late summer sweetness of freshly blanched peaches. Faithful mothers. And so much more.
If it is ever my turn to guide sticky fingers and plant grateful kisses on rosy cheeks, I will consider it my joy and privilege. God has given me a beautiful example.
“Her children arise up and call her blessed...” Proverbs 31:28
P.S. Reminiscent of old days, I had to spill half a boiling cauldron of apple juice on the floor at the very outset of our project this year. In spite of a hasty mopping, the floor did remain tacky until the end of the day. Everyone was gracious and we had a good laugh over it!

Canning at 3 am. A trick that probably won't be repeated, if we go by the reviews...

Master peach washer & blancher, back at work

Found after missing in action for a few minutes (maybe around 5:30 or so?)
Golden September

6 comments:

  1. Oh that looks like so much fun! Even if it is at 3am. :-)

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  2. Looks like fun… :) I love canning peaches and golden September too!

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  3. Ohhhh, you are making me HUNGRYYYYY (and that's not a good thing when you're over feed as it is)! (sigh)

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  4. William and I are wondering why you were canning at that time of the morning? Thank you for giving such a lovely tribute to your dear Mother. The results are gold. (Was she helping you canning, or were you sneaking around without her?)

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  5. Well Auntie Barbara, Tasha and I discovered last year that starting at 3 in the morning exponentially increased our efficiency... because we have 5 hours to can before we have to concern ourselves with breakfast (and nothing derails canning around here like meals since our kitchen is on the small side). That particular day, Mother and I also had to go to Albuquerque to see my grandpa, and the peaches needed to be canned immediately, so... We canned 'til ten in the morning and then went to town. The boys said it took them all day to recover. :)

    Oh, and Mother was the photographer!

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  6. Wow! :) I probably wouldn't even think of canning at 3 in the morning!! That reminds me we need to can peaches next year for sure!

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