Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Place for Pears

Two 36-lb cases of Bartlett pears layed out on my basement floor to ripen: $18Extra lids, rings, and lemon juice: $8
Washing and sanitizing 33 quart jars: 2 hours of hard work for my dishwasher
About 8 gallons of light sugar syrup: $2

Peeling, coring, slicing 72 pounds of pears: 6 hours

Finishing 33 quarts of pears: priceless

Spending the afternoon doing pears with my mom: even more priceless
"I'm coming over to help you do pears," my mom said, upon hearing me worry outloud that I wouldn't get to the over 70 lbs of rapidly ripening pears on my basement floor. I knew she'd come over. She loves to do pears.

There is a quietness to doing pears. The silence of peeling the fruit as its juice runs down your wrists. The whisper of a spash as the pears get a lemon juice bath. There is no frantic chopping as for salsa, no whine of the food processor, no vinegary sharpness in the air from chili sauce. Just the warm mellow smell of the pears, the simmer of the sugar syrup and the the distant click of a sealing jar.

My mother's hands can no longer quilt, and her mind struggles with the complications of daily life. Standing is hard. Walking is harder. But we can sit at my table and do pears, her tremoring hand now firm and steady as the peels fall from the fruit.


paul said...

Definitely priceless... wish I was there to enjoy the canning experience.

Jessica said...

So sweet. You said it all.

amanda said...

tears in my eyes. great post.