Skills Learned in Childhood: Making My Own Jam


It never fails: I get sick after every major school period. Maybe it is the months of stress working what is basically two careers, or maybe illness just comes because I have to be on duty all other times. Regardless, I awoke at 3am, in a cold sweat, and was I’ll for the next five hours. No details necessary, nor supplied.

Which brings me to jam…as a child one of my favorite summer activities was the strawberry season. We would travel as a family to pick berries for the oncoming winter season. Some would be frozen, some mashed with sugar and frozen, while other berries would be made into our winter’s supply of jam.
The name was always special and it contained nothing but sugar and fresh berries. We would eat it with toast or biscuits for a few months, and that taste was what summer meant in the winter; winters harsher than we imagine these days.

When I moved to Montreal, I decided to put down my own jam to get me through my second winter dans la belle ville. I also needed the food because I only had enough money to get me through until December for a second year in a row. Blueberries were added to peaches with rum, strawberries had a mini of Grande Marnier thrown in for good measure. In the end…I need all 24 jars I put down that year, and learned many lessons about the value of preserving a bit of summer light for when the darkness of winter all but consumes us.

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Since I feel I’ll I opted out of the staff lunch to upgrade to my full motorcycle license at the Service Ontario terminal. To celebrate (and get something into my poor tummy after the night before) I went to the Marble Slab for a classic banana split – nothing says summer like a quality bit of ice cream.
I write this from the Maple Leaf Lounge at Pearson Airport which I access through my AMEX Platinum card. Yeah, it costs the business $500 annually, but I need the card for a myriad of reasons including rental deposits on $15,000 digital back rentals. I know I am free when I can grab warm chocolate cookies, a mitt of luxury magazines and a few glasses of wine for “free” in the lounge while I await the beginning of my next adventure. Today’s adventure: San Francisco, Sonoma and Napa Valley, and Vancouver.

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