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,
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