I love canning. It is so satisfying to have a well-stocked pantry. Canned food is the original fast food, but so much better than takeout. I can have a meal on the table in twenty minutes by opening a jar of canned beans or canned beef stew and putting a pan of cornbread in the oven. It’s especially good if you add a quick salad or cottage cheese.
I can everything fresh I can get in season, tomatoes, corn, berries, and fresh fruit. My pantry shelves groan under pickles,jams, and jellies. When the summer growing season is over, I cook and can dry beans and soups. Home canned dry beans are delicious and much cheaper than bought canned beans from the store.
Canning soups is such a savings and convenience. I can homemade chili, home made beef stew, and bean soups. As I write this post, I am canning split pea soup. It will be delicious with hot cornbread on a cold day.
When canning soup it is very important to remember you must not use flour, pasta, or dairy products in your soups. There is no way to effectively ensure you have killed botulism in these products so NO canning noodle, dumplings, or cream soups. I I have any doubts about a product, I consult the internet.
My mother, Kathleen, has suffered from Royalty Envy her entire life. First of all, Princess Elizabeth was born two years ahead of Kathleen, giving her an unfair advantage. Seeing Princess Elizabeth featured in magazines and newsreels in gorgeous dresses surrounded by her retinue fascinated and frustrated her. Clearly the young royal had done no more than she to deserve this sumptuous life. To add insult to injury, Princess Elizabeth had beautifully curled hair. Kathleen suspected it was a much coveted permanent wave.
One or two fortunate girls of Kathleen’s acquaintance prissed about haughtily showing off their permanent waves. Kathleen knew every penny in her household had a purpose, so it never occurred to her to mention her yearning for a permanent wave. Periodically, her older sister curled her hair with rag curlers, but those curls paled beside the beauty of a permanent wave. Even worse, Princess Elizabeth’s hair might have been naturally curly. What cruel accident of birth would bestow curly hair upon a royal child and condemn Kathleen, a tow-headed, child of American The Great Depression, to struggle through at least ninety-four years of lanky, string-straight locks.
Kathleen avidly poured over any mention of Princess Elizabeth in newsreels, news papers, and magazines, alternately admiring and envying the girl unaware of her existence. Every time she visited to outhouse, she read and reread a magazine article about the princesses, fully aware Princess Elizabeth wasn’t reading about her in her dainty water closet.
Kathleen excelled at the tiny school in Cuthand,Texas, sometimes helping her janitor father clean after school, aware that Princess Elizabeth was educated by governesses, later attending the finest private schools. While the princess attended soirees, Kathleen picked beans, fed chickens, and gathered eggs. There was definitely nothing privileged about her rural life.
As time passed, Kathleen had less time to devote to her rival who was now queen, though she noted with satisfaction her own children were more handsome and probably smarter. She was a bit critical of the queen’s style; too many pastels and over-large hats., though it seems she would have been pleased that something that obscured the queen’s curly hair.
Some things never change. I mentioned the other day the queen might be schmoozing with the heavenly hosts right now since she’d beaten Mother to Heaven. Mother remarked snidely, “You don’t know that for sure, do you?”
A bus full of ugly people had a head on collision with a truck. When they died, God granted all of them one wish. The first person said, “I want to be gorgeous.” God snapped his fingers and it happened. The second person said the same thing and God did the same thing. This want on and on throughout the group. God noticed the last man in line was laughing hysterically. By the time God got to the last ten people, the last man was laughing and rolling on the ground. When the man’s turn came, he laughed and said, “I wish they were all ugly again.”
Joe and Irv are business partners. They make a deal that whichever one dies first will contact the living one from the afterlife. So Irv dies. Joe doesn’t hear from him for about a year, figures there is no afterlife. Then one day he gets a call. It’s Irv. ‘So there is an afterlife! What’s it like?’ Joe asks. ‘Well, I sleep very late. I get up, have a big breakfast. Then I have sex, lots of sex. Then I go back to sleep, but I get up for lunch, have a big lunch. Have some more sex, take a nap. Huge dinner. More sex. Go to sleep and wake up the next day.’ ‘Oh, my God,’ says Joe says. “So that’s what heaven is like?’ ‘Oh no,’ says Irv. ‘I’m not in heaven. I’m a bear in Yellowstone Park.’
After thirty-five years together, Bill died. Well into her nineties, Kathleen was long past grieving him. One night, drifting between twilight thoughts and deep sleep, she found herself picking her way carefully along the shady banks of a small turbulent stream. Making her way gingerly through gnarled roots along its mossy banks, she was keenly aware a slip could toss her headlong into the stream.
As she moved from the shade, across the way, a meadow of brilliant green grass opened up. In a patch of sunshine, atop a rail fence, sat Bill, as vibrantly young as when they’d met.
Catching her eye, he waved her on, patting the rail beside him. Despite her unsteady gait, she hurried. More than anything, she wanted to sit at his side, but how could she manage it? Gingerly, she stepped in, easily crossing the stream to make her way toward him.
She awoke with a start, mindful she’d shared a moment with Bill, foreshadowing their reunion. Before that moment, she’d always dreaded the moment of her passing, fearing the darkness of death. Now, she looked forward to joining him.
Jasper wakes up with a killer hangover and a throbbing black eye. The first thing he sees is a single rose on the side table and a note from his wife: “Darling, breakfast is on the table. I’ve gone shopping to make you your favorite dinner tonight. I love you!”
He staggers to the kitchen and, sure enough, there’s breakfast. “Mike.”he says to his son, “what happened last night?”
“You came home pickled and got that black eye tripping over a chair.”
“So, why the rose, breakfast, and sweet note from your mother?”
“Oh, that. Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take off your clothes, you screamed, ‘Leave me alone, I’m married!’”