I’m writing a book. This is news how? It says I’m a writer in the intro for this blog.
But this is a special book. It won’t be for general publication. It will be written in my own handwriting, in a leather bound journal that was a gift from my niece. It will be one of a kind.
The title of this extraordinary book is Recollections: A Memoir in Bits and Pieces. I realized several years ago how much things have changed in the fifty-plus years I’ve been alive. See what I did there, telling you I’m old without telling you how old? Ha! But I digress.
I thought this would just be a project for my family, something for my nieces and nephews to fight over when I’m gone, interesting bits of our family history, until some friends convinced me that people in the wider world would be interested as well. With that in mind, I will be posting some of these short essays here in the future.
Something to keep in mind as you read these: I grew up in a rural community. To say we were not well off is an understatement. We were poor. I don’t necessarily consider that a bad thing…now. At the time, it was very much a bad thing. We didn’t go hungry, we weren’t that poor, but looking back, I know that my parents struggled.
I won’t be revealing any deep, dark family secrets, mostly because there aren’t that many and probably not that captivating for the general public. Also because my family might smack me for it!
If this sounds like something you would enjoy reading, check back here soon!
I come from a long line of farmers. My family grew tobacco for a cash crop, hay and corn to feed the livestock, and a big garden to feed ourselves. My momma preserved everything she grew or foraged to feed us through the winter.
This weekend, I had the privilege of passing some of this knowledge down to my niece. She grew an abundance of habanero peppers and wanted to make pepper jelly. I personally don’t care for spicy food, but she likes it, so off we went!
The recipes she picked were a plain pepper jelly and a pepper marmalade. Both were new to me, so it was a learning experience for both of us. The marmalade made the house smell divine, oranges and spices bringing to mind Christmas.
Although it was quite a bit of work, chopping and stirring and peeling, there was also the sheer pleasure of creating and passing of traditions from one generation to the next.
In three generations, we’ve gone from mamma preserving from necessity, to me preserving to stay closer to my roots and have a bit of extra food, to my niece growing and preserving simply because she wants to.
In the end, we made 28 pints of marmalade and 15 half pints of pepper jelly. Yes, she could probably have made a dash to the grocery store and bought something similar. It would be much easier. This way, she has the satisfaction of doing it herself, and memories of a day spent with her aunt, listening to tales of her granny.