In order to keep the memories and traditions alive of those we love and have lost, we must remember to share and enjoy traditions that one day will be timeless to our children. I love teaching my children the traits that my father taught me. I can so clearly remember how it felt to be a part of the projects my father would start, and most times not finish (that was our job).
My father had a big barn, and in that big barn there were, and still are, lots of things. He had everything you could think of in that barn. There wasn’t much “order” to that big barn, but my father could tell you where every thing was. Right down to the smallest screw you needed to fix your bike pedal.
He was truly a man of his time, and a diamond in the rough. But one thing is for sure, that barn holds the memories that I cling to in my mind, and it brings me closer to him every time the wind blows. Among my fathers collections in his big barn were canning jars upon canning jars, lids upon lids- they seemed like space collectors to me, all dirty and dusty.
However one day in September, the year before my father passed, I asked him to teach me how to make pickles. He couldn’t have been more eager to share his knowledge of canning and pickle making. He wrote me a list of items needed to start and complete the process and he cleaned and sanitized those dusty jars. On that Saturday, with my brother and my friend as my father’s students, we learned how to preserve the BEST dang pickles you will ever eat! We made 61 jars of them to be exact! We followed his orders and instructions and copied his lead. My father was an amazing teacher, just as long as you were sharp enough to keep up.
Last Monday would have been my father’s 65th birthday. If he was still here, we would have been sharing a discussion and the coldest beer one would ever have. My dad’s barn made the coldest beers! He would have been giving me instructions on how to clean out those dusty, dirty jars, and making sure we had all the ingredients for our pickles.
He may not be here, but in the company of my friend and fellow student Michelle, her daughter and my children, we made the most delicious pickles again- every step was executed clearly and perfectly, just like we were taught.
Those pickles are more than just food to me- they are creative, timeless, and rewarding.
Happy Birthday, Dad.