An Ode to the Mason Jar (or “The Preservation of Riley Harris, Sr.”)

My Grandad was the kind of man who made things grow:  stringbeans, tomatoes, corn, grapes, peaches, mulberries, roses, gladiolas, lilacs.

Faith.  He made faith grow.

Friendship.  He made friendship grow.

Joy and laughter.  He made joy and laughter grow.

Wisdom.  He made wisdom grow.

Love.  He made love grow.

Well, for the edible things he made grow… the fruits and vegetables:

1.  he always gave some away to others;

2.  he always enjoyed some with his family; and

3.  he always saved some for later.

He and my Grandma both knew how to “can” (which is actually the preservation of food in a glass jar).  They used Mason jars, just like the one pictured here.

In all the world, the Mason jar was my Grandad’s favorite drinking glass.  Ice-water.  Lemonade.  Sassafrass tea.  It all tasted better in a Mason jar.

Between his canned foods, and iced beverages, the Mason jar became a symbol of my Grandad to me.  It represented his simple, wholesome, nature-lovin’ ways.

Now, with his physical absence (08/17/08), I’m finding comfort in the word — and the action — “preserve.”

PRESERVE = to keep alive or in existence; to make lasting; to retain, maintain, safeguard and shield.

That’s what I’m going to do with my Grandad… and his stories… and lessons… and recipes… and sayings.  I’m going to preserve him.  Forever.


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11 Responses to “An Ode to the Mason Jar (or “The Preservation of Riley Harris, Sr.”)”

  1. Rawbin Says:

    I loved this post! It was like reading about MY grandfather! My grandparents did a lot of gardening and canning. My sister and I have saved many of their “how-to” books because of the notes they’ve stashed inside. Our little way of preserving them, I guess. I found an old shopping list in one of my grandmother’s raincoat pockets once, and that was also preserved to read over occasionally!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jeanne Says:

    This is such a beautiful testimonial to your grandfather and your own connection to all thing beautiful and glorious in nature. But I see that the Harris gene is a powerful one. But it isn’t just through the stories and the lessons you’re preserving the spirit of Riley Harris, Sr. The qualities you describe in your granddad (all that love, joy, LAUGHTER, friendship, giving) sound remarkably familiar. Thanks for writing and giving. JK

  3. Kylie Says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful grandfather. What a beautiful life to have lived.

  4. Erika Harris Says:

    Thank you so much, Kylie May! :-)

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