- Created: Tuesday, 01 July 2014 13:36
Yesterday, I picked strawberries and made jam.
See how easy I made that sound? No mention of the dripping humidity in the berry fields, or the fact that it was already 85 degrees by 9 o’clock. I didn’t tell you how long and hard I had to hunt for each ripe berry. The picking will be better a week from now, but because of my work schedule, family birthdays, and travel plans, I don’t have a single other day in the next two weeks that I can devote to berry-picking and jam-making. And I’m afraid that if I wait, I’ll miss them. This has happened before, and those years, we’ve ended up eating unsatisfying, store-bought jam. So it was yesterday or never.
Also in that concise opening sentence, there is no mention of how I had to stop for sugar and pectin and jar lids afterward, on my way home: how I sidled into the store looking like the very wrath of God: shiny-faced and dripping sweat, in a juice-stained shirt, with a ball cap crammed down over my unwashed hair, praying I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew.
I left out the afternoon hours I spent over a steamy stove, with a 170-degree oven pulsing out heat around my legs; burning my fingers on jam and hot jars, my forearms sticky, my mouth cloyed with sweetness. Meanwhile, the DJ on the radio kept throwing out, like candy from a parade float, cheery comments about what a perfect beach day it was, and how she hoped we were all lounging around on chairs somewhere near the water.
Not that I was bitter.