We hear a song and are often reminded of folks who are no longer with us or memories that tend to fade with passing time. Certain aromas and food can also trip the cord to bring afresh a moment in time or special faces.
A student’s mom, and dear friend, Nicole Melin, for the past twelve years, has blessed me with her special soups, fresh garden vegetables, creative spices, and so many other delicious recipes. She has even shared items prepared by her mother, Carol Greening. I have suggested for many years that Nicole, a special needs therapist, needs to open her own bistro. I am a pretty basic guy when it comes to food and Nicole has enlightened my world and expanded my happy taste buds.
Monday afternoon, Nicole delivered some items, one of which was canned green beans. As I retrieved the jar of green beans from my bin on the front porch, my mind darted back to all the canning my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother did when I was young. I even had a hand in picking the beans from the large family garden that ran alongside my grandparents’ country house, snapping the beans on the porch with everyone pitching in, washing the beans in my Grandma Donna’s large metal colander, and later, counting all the “pops” as the jars sealed.
A simpler time? Perhaps. But, not really. It was a wonderful time that now has many files stored away in my mind or even written down in blogs. I remember the white-painted canning cabinet Grandpa Leroy made for Mother to store the canned goods, as well as the numerous cabinets he made for their own enclosed back porch and laundry room. Out at the Jones-Clary farm, I can still barely see the screened-in side porch with the interior wall lined with upper and lower cabinets for canned goods and other storage.
One quart jar of green beans retrieved so many fond memories. All those folks are now gone. But, with friends (and student parents) like Nicole, I am still kept in the loop of my childhood in so many different ways.
The seasoned green beans were my lunch, today. They were delicious. My stomach is filled, but my mind and appreciation for so many in my life are even fuller. Much, much fuller.
Thank you, Nicole!