Fifty-four peeled and cored tomatoes! Add 6 green and 2 red peppers, 6 jalapeno peppers, 5 onions, 30 garlic cloves…plus loads of spices and other ingredients…and the big-barreled pot was steaming with aroma. Two friends helped with the chopping, slicing and dicing, and conversation was just plain fun! Results were 21 canned pint jars and 64 frozen ounces of delicious salsa for our fall women’s retreat taco salads.
It was later that night that it came to me that I had been preparing the same delicious recipe a year ago this time. Our son Patrick requested my salsa and assured me that his mouth watered with anticipation of the upcoming Christmas baskets I was making for our four grown-children-families. Along with other favorite canned goods, these baskets were planned well in advance when the crops were just right for picking and preserving.
Patrick went Home to be with His Lord on December 9th, at the early age of 43…just about nine months ago…never having a chance to enjoy the basket bounty. These gifts went, as planned, to our children and grandchildren, prompting memories of years gone by when we enjoyed these recipes together. One of our adult children said recently that they were just not able to open the jars – yet – as nostalgia was just too great. One day it will seem okay to open them.
Family traditions continue, though they stir memories and heartaches of loss, yet provide so many joys. How I wish I could preserve the multiple pints/quarts/gallons of love shared with our son, and open them as needed. The aroma of love shared with him still fills the air of our home though his absence brings much sorrow. I live on memories of his life with us and am thankful that I have them. They aren’t canned in jars; they are stored, beyond measure, in my heart forever.
“The memory of the righteous is blessed…” Proverbs 10:7a