Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Over the last several months, I have been thinking of what it means to "share". For those of us who ever babysat multiple children or were real parents (unlike myself I have one fabulous son who is 20) and had more than one child; the word share was a 24/7 concept. Share your toys, share the last cookie, share the blanket. My mother would often remind my sister and I that if we didn't "share" there would be none. Sharing was not just a way to stay out of trouble, it was done in the face of having nothing at all.

Whole communities exsisted because of the practice of sharing and it's more wholesale version "bartering". The owner of cows traded milk for eggs, the owner of chickens traded eggs for wheat; and before too long everyone had French Toast. It wasn't a mandate or a rural form of communism, it was a means of survival and community. Maybe it's the Wal-Mart on every corner, or that life seems to move so fast, or maybe we are so self-absorbed in our own lives to see need or name our own, - whatever the reason, we simply don't share much anymore.
Last summer, a friend declared she had pears. Her huge pear tree had provided her with an abundance of fruit and she wanted to share what was left. I am not a huge fan of pears; although one of my favorite jams I made this year was a Pear and Plum with Ginger- go figure, but I told her that I would like some to make jams for Christmas. The next Sunday, Lorie's husband appeared with nearly a bushel of pears, which I in turn transformed into various jams. After exhausting my recipe supply as well as my jelly jars, I still had about 2 doz. pears left. I remembered that Mrs. Payne, who's family owns the farmers market I frequent, had longed for some pears to make jam like her mother used to. The next day I shared the remainder of the pears with her.
Because one friend shared with another, dozens of people were blessed with pears in some form or another- sharing is foundational to community. It's sad that it seems to have gone out of fashion. While others endeavor to "bring back sexy", I think I might just try to bring back sharing.
So what does that have to do with amazing 1/2 Gal. canning jars? They, and dozens more of varying sizes, come from an older gentleman I never met. A friend of mine, who is always on the lookout for jars for me, was helping him clean out his basement. He used to can long ago but age and health problems make it difficult for him. She asked if he was willing to sell them. He said, "No." But he was willing to give them to me, which brings me hope that sharing is making a comeback!

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