Ritual Revived

She grows impatient waiting 

for gallons of water to boil

in the massive vessel.

Finally, back burner’s roiling ocean

receives a steel rack of jars packed

with marmalade — zesty orange,

piquant cranberry.

Ten minutes in water boiling

inches above metal lids. A rest,

and she lifts each glass carefully —

straight up from scalding bath.

A day to cool; labels affixed,

and the ’lades are now gifts:

holiday, birthday, any day . . .

Sweet memories led to this labor:

her parents on hot August nights, peeling,

slicing crops green, yellow, red, filling

Mason jars, hovering over the steaming kettle,

putting up peaches, beans, tomatoes,

from their small Victory garden,

enough to feed their children,

for yet another wartime winter.

— Barbara Baillet Moran

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