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Break out the jars, don’t break the tradition

By Timothy Linscott
Managing Editor
Fall season brings on many changes around my household.
Raking, yard work and the like kick into high gear, winterizing the vehicles and house become a priority and most of all, pageant season starts.
My oldest daughter, Adaline, nine, participates in pageants. Not the Honey-Boo Boo-style pageants, that is the southern circuit, but these pageants are more closely aligned with the Miss America system. No make-up is allowed and grades and community involvement heavily influence the judging.
Addy isn’t nine going on 16, she’s nine going on 46. While watching the Miss America pageant this year the swimsuit competition started. I was a bit nervous about having her watching women in bikinis strut around and the influence it may have on her at this young age.
Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, wore a bikini with a tiger print on it. Addy rolled her eyes and said, ‘Who wears animal prints anymore?’
Her keen fashion sense and ability to see beyond the situation made me feel a bit more at ease.
While preparing for pageant season my daughter, and her mother, will ramp up Addy’s Creations. It is a ‘business’ my daughter runs to help earn money for her pageants and local charities.
She makes ornaments around the holidays, breast cancer awareness pins in October (with all funds going to the American Cancer Society), blankets, craft items, breads and jelly. The rhubarb for the jelly comes from grandmother Sharon’s garden and gives my wife (and kids) an excuse to spend some time with the grandparents.
The jelly making really struck a chord with me because it is something I wanted passed down to my children.
My wife has been happy to oblige as she, too, has many memories of canning and making jars of just about everything with her mother and grandmother.
I remember fondly going to my maternal grandmother’s house in Sioux City. During canning season you could always find Grandma in the kitchen finishing up a batch of something. She had a ‘canning room’ in the basement where she kept that year’s assortment.
Every single meal she’d send one of us kids down to the canning room to fetch a jar of rhubarb jelly, dill pickles or her famous apple rings. She’d make hot cinnamon or green mint apple rings and, man-o-man, those things were a treat.
With every meal you had a slice of bread and butter (real butter, not ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Chemicals In A Tub’) and something pickled to go with the rest of the meal.
I can still feel the metal jar lid in my hand, hearing the air ‘pop’ after opening the jar and smelling the cloves in those cinnamon apples. The taste was so good and, of course, the secret ingredient was a grandmother’s love.
I want my girls, especially, to have those memories with their mother and grandmother. Someday I want them to pass those traditions on to their children and send their grandkids downstairs to get ‘Grammy some jelly for supper.’
It may be a trivial wish, but preserving not just fruit is important to future generations. Preserving traditions and the ways of generations past means a lot to me.    
It isn’t just about making something and putting it in a jar. It is about the whole process of gathering something from a garden, making it, putting it away for next season and looking forward to next year. In my grandmother’s day, canning was a necessity, not a hobby. You lived off of the garden’s bounty during the winter months.
I am reminded of the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The ant put food away for next year, the grasshopper did not. The grasshopper starved, the ant survived.
The forward thinking mentally is something I want all of my children to have in life...I also want them to make me canned apples when they are adults, just like Grandma used to make.