Picture this! Summer 1972. A young bride fresh from the burbs, totally captivated with her new country lifestyle and eager to learn the duties of her recently acquired “farmwife” designate.
In to my life walks the perfect farmwife mentor, Grandma Ada Gifford. A small frail woman in stature but with a huge heart of gold. She, willing to teach me how to can pears and I, determined to do what a farmwife does, you know, like those who live the simpler life. (Please picture tongue in cheek here, if you have not already)
The men folk picked the pears which in their mind was the most tedious part of the process and perhaps it was. However, after the pears were delivered to my kitchen, grandma and I proceeded to peel, cut, take out cores, make the sweet syrup, sink filled jars into a hot water bath, serve lunch to the men folk, start dinner and still have time for pleasant conversation. Her patience with this newbie farmwife seemed effortless as I asked question after question knowing one day I would be flying solo over this pear canning process.
At the end of the day, how satisfying it was to literally see the fruits of our labors neatly lined up, ready to be tucked away in the basement till the chill was in the air and ne’er a piece of fresh fruit on the trees was to be found.
Grateful to be at the receiving end of Grandma Gifford’s canning expertise and golden patience, I shared my heartfelt “thank you,” however I was totally unprepared for her response. She said five words that changed my life.
To be continued…