I remember my mom making jellies and canning peaches in our old kitchen. It had a special fragrance. I’m not sure exactly what but it was more than the sweetness of the fruit. I think the smell of the lids boiling on the stove added to the fragrance. Mom would let me pick the lids out of the scalding water and line them up to dry on a towel. Then I’d wait for the right time when the jars were full to put them on and screw them tight. Mom showed me how to hold both the hot jar and the lid in damp washcloths so the lid would turn on, I wouldn’t get burned, and the sticky syrup would get wiped off the jars all at the same time.
I remember the proud look on mom’s face when dad would come in the kitchen at the end of the day. She’d have all her jars of peaches or strawberry jam or whatever she’d spent her day making lined up across the table in neat rows. Mom told me she lined the jars up like that because it made them easy to count but I think she did it to show dad how hard we’d worked during the day. Dad would always hold up several jars and boast how beautiful the fruit was or how clear the jellies. He’d search the pots and pans for extra fruit or spoons to lick clean. He’d look at me and grin then ask mom if that was all she had managed to do with her day.
Mom and dad laughed a lot. They played a lot with one another. I remember him coming up behind and gently rubbing her back or pinching her on the fanny. She’d turn to him and many times he’d do the big sweeping hug where he’d practically lay her down hugging her then swoop her up again. I always knew they loved one another a lot by the way they played.