Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 50 - Strawberry Jellyfish

Teaching children to fish
The saying goes...Give a person a fish, you feed him/her for a day, Teach a person to fish and you feed him/her for a lifetime.  I learned this at a very young age.  When I first became a mother, my first born would fall down when he first was starting to walk by himself.  I know that many parents probably thought I was this cruel mother who didn't love her son but it was furthest from the truth.  I would tell him, Get up with no emotion.  And he would get up and try it again without crying because he fell. I was teaching him how to get up if I wasn't there to help him.

I realized that the crying that occurs when they fall is more of a reaction to Mom and Dad's fright in their voice.  The loud scream, cry, followed by Are-you-all-right-poor-babys contributed to the shock of the fall.  This was later confirmed when I officiated one of the little known high school basketball teams unless you have a family member who is deaf or blind.  It is the Florida School of Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine Florida.  It is where the infamous Ray Charles attended.  Not only do the basketball players for the FSD&B school not stop playing when we blow our whistles, they seldom cried when they fell down.  They fouled a lot and they didn't stop playing when they were fouled hard.  And I mean pushed to the ground hard.  I connected the dots and had an epiphany, they never heard their parents "poor-babys" so they were never conditioned to cry when they fall.  As a result, they were stronger for it. We actually would have to protect the opposing teams as the FSD&B kids thought everyone was like they were and consequently didn't realize their strength.

I continued this style of learning throughout my children's lives.  I was the "mean" Mom they would say.  I finally figured out they meant strict.  I wouldn't give them anything freely, I made them earn an allowance.  I would list chores I needed done on the refrigerator and they could pick and choose each chore with the set dollar amount that was non-negotiable.  They learned to look for the highest paying job (which corresponded with the most sweat and longest time to complete) and would fight over those.  Once you have earned your money, there is something about a sense of accomplishment you feel.  Don't get me wrong I love free things but doing the right thing sometimes means learning something new you didn't think you could do.

When I was in college, I received my first care package from my Aunt Cindy.  This was priceless to me. I didn't even know what a care package was before I got it.  But I guess she figured since I was learning how to "fish" she would feed me while I was learning something new.  To this day we occasionally receive care packages with corn relish, holiday cookies, and jelly from our mothers.  I found out that one of our mothers made strawberry jam too.  I wanted some of the strawberry jam but when I inquired, I was told, "You can make it yourself."  I was mad at first because I didn't understand it was different than the grape jelly. It can't be boxed and sent without arriving in a manner unintended for consumption.  It was suggested that I try it myself.  Don't be ridiculous I thought I don't know how to make strawberry jelly.  I was hurt because the care packages and jelly were filled with love. There's love in the jelly.  Unless I moved closer I was going to have to feel love with the grape jelly only.

Strawberry "Love" Jam
Then the newspaper ran an announcement that for $2, the same price of a jar of Strawberry Jam in the stores, the University Agricultural Center was having a "Strawberry Jammin" class. The class will teach the attendees to make freezer strawberry jam.  So I signed up to go fishing for a lifetime of love jelly!

“The jelly - the jam and the marmalade, 
And the cherry-and quince-"preserves" she made! 
And the sweet-sour pickles of peach and pear, 
With cinnamon in 'em, and all things rare! - 
And the more we ate was the more to spare, 
Out to old Aunt Mary's! Ah!”
 James Whitcomb Riley quotes

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