Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Five alive -- the Thanksgiving exercise

Continuing to think about things I'm thankful for.  Last night I said good-bye to one of my three brothers--none of whom lives,is domiciled in this province or the adjacent ones; but the peculiarities of my youngest brother's profession have led to his being in Prairie Metropolis, or in the immediate hinterland, more over the last couple of years than not.

There are -- have always been! -- nearly eleven years between us.  Putting it another way, "I walked the floor with him" (and with his twin -- for their first two years they had the tag-team form of colic, going on more or less night and day), which is pretty comical to remember given that he is now more or less 6'5" not counting the boots.  He and his twin were only 12 when I "got married and left home," and I'd been away from home at university most of the time for the previous five years.  So there is, potentially, something of a GAP.

But this summer and last we have had The Best Time--eating and drinking and talking world without end -- and we have a new joint pursuit as well in these latter years -- the fine domestic art of PICKLING things.  And then CANNING them.  Turns out that my baby brother (my baby brother, the colonel) is a demon in the kitchen when it comes to PUTTIN' UP STUFF.  Especially once we ascertained that the mandolin was strictly off limits to him (he's a south-paw).  We chopped, and we stirred, and we timed things, and we lifted hot jars in and out of the canner, and we listened and congratulated each other as we heard the cooling jar lids "poinking" successfully, and successively, into place.

We made bread and butter pickles.  We made chutney.  We made bread-and-butter-style jalapeno pickles.  And on the most recent weekend, we made our grandmother's Green Tomato Mincemeat.  We made a 1/2 recipe and the yield was SIX QUARTS -- enough for what we agreed would be a MORT of mince-tarts.

And meanwhile we talked. And TALKED.  Literature and music and politics and liturgy and history and MILITARY history and movies and family, and then around the circuit again and again.

He flew homeward this morning.  But I look at this array of shining (and perfectly sealed, please note) jars of good things...and remember hours and hours of good talk.  And am very very thankful.

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