Jam Jars

Here is a little short to go along with your Wednesday morning coffee. I hope you enjoy and feedback is appreciated. This will likely make it into the sequel to Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common, Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss.


I don’t mind buyin’ up those jam and jelly jars from the farmers’ market or vegetable stand ‘ever I see one. I know, I know, they are often a tad overpriced but I have a little secret that no one ever thinks about ‘cause people figure when the jar gets empty, and they hear the little tink tink of their butter knife against glass that last lonely time, they just chuck the glass unless their municipality has recyclin’. Ours does, and does not. I tried to recycle wine bottles before but the city sent us a warning with a future fee should I not comply. The threat was slapped right on the side of that bin about how they don’t do glass and all. They said we would have to pay a twenty dollar fine if I tried it again, so I stopped.

Now, my little secret is that I use the jam jars as drinkin’ glasses after the sweets have done run out. Pretty clever, right? I think so, and I actually buy the jam or jelly with that in mind, fixed right in with the overpriced cost. Not that I want to spend six dollars on a drinking glass but I at least consider whether the container of sweets would go well a holdin’ some iced tea after, making sure the lip would feel right and whatnot. I have got some of the cutest little breakfast time juice glasses out of the whole deal, not to mention the big summer time gulps in the Ball-type jars they use.

Sam said to me one day, “When’d we get this set?” and I just chuckled a bit, figurin’ he would not remember spoonin’ out the last of that sweet muscadine jam from the farmer’s market out there on Broad Street, which we bought together just a few weeks prior.

I wonder if Sam will agree to go down to that new creamery they opened up and get some ice cream with all the fixins, whatever you want I heard. I know Sam will just ask for vanilla with chocolate chips but Mary says that it’s real fine in there. They even have places to sit and you can watch sports on the big TV, Sam will like that.

On Saturday mornin’, I’ll go do some rummage sailin’ and Sam will putter around the yard and then we’ll rendezvous out in the garden ‘round lunchtime. I’ll fry up some of those green tomatoes from our garden that I saw and I’ll melt a little cheese on top, add a pinch of basil from my herb bin with olive oil, put it on pumpernickel from the bakery, and Sam will tell me it’s just delicious and we’ll wash it down with some sweet tea from those jam jars. Sam will crunch his ice at the end of his jar the way he does and I’ll offer him more and he’ll say no and we’ll look out over the grass and talk about what we did that mornin’. I’ll show him some of the deals I got and Sam will go back to the lawn until supper. I may have to trim those beans down a little bit, they are enchroachin’ on the tomatoes. I sure do love beans but, oh my, are they just takin’ over the garden this year.

Later, while I fix supper and the sun starts to subside, Sam will turn on the radio while he has his shower and he’ll catch up on the college football scores. This time of year, I feel a bit guilty about cuttin’ back on cable because Sam sure does love his football. But since we made the cut, we have managed to find other ways. We even started streamin’ movies at a bargain per month, our daughter Sarah came over one day and set it all up for us. We can watch pretty much whatever on Saturday nights and Sam agrees it is a better deal than what we were puttin’ towards cable all them years. Especially without all them commercials, a bonus really, kind of like gettin’ a fine glass from a jam jar.

We think that way these days, never used to, but we do now. Sam and I figured after a long look that we was payin’ so much in interest over the years on most things we couldn’t even remember. So much interest, it would set your hair on fire right there where you stand. We could have almost paid the house off-twice. Between the car notes and the credit cards, we don’t know what happened, but one day, we got wise to what they were doin’ and I’m sure glad we did or we’d be leavin’ our kids with so much debt, ooh gosh, that would have been just terrible to sort through.

One day, we just up and left that little fantasy we were livin’ and started livin’ within our means, well below it actually. We was sittin’ at the kitchen table, goin’ over our bills like we do every month, and both of us started in on the math, the real, hard math. At first, it made us point the fingers and peck a bit, somethin’ we hardly done these past thirty years. But once we remembered we were still on the same team and them bankers in the suits were puttin’ the screws to us, we developed one heck of a plan to get out of debt and we never looked back.

Sure, Sam had to sell his boat which we both enjoyed and I felt just awful about that too, along with the football, but I took up a second job hemmin’ dresses and we went to work just a sockin’ it to those credit card companies. Sam and I just loved callin’ them for the final balance and scribblin’ that final check, which we both would sign, in big letters too, just for fun. And, we would cut up that plastic like it was a party, the whole thing became a big deal for us. We would mark it on the calendar I keep there by the fridge and be just chompin’ at the bit the night before a card cuttin’ ceremony was about to commence. It was like we was datin’ all over again, I’m tellin’ you.

Yes, we had to cut back on what we were doin’ all them years, what everybody was doin’, but it was worth it, still is, for both me and Sam. I still enjoy hemmin’ and patchin’ dresses for extra money and we’ve actually managed to save! Proly have the house paid off within the year too, so proud.

Sam got me a little scared this past March when the ground was still a little frozen and he had what seemed to be a new garden tiller on the back of his truck one day when I came home from the office. He reassured me that he picked it up at a bargain, paid in cash, and that he wanted to get it for my birthday which had already passed. We agreed not to get anything for each other until we were completely out of the weeds with our car payments and mortgage-for birthdays, Christmas-whatever, but Sam just couldn’t resist. The garden tiller was a family gift really. Sam is so sweet that way sometimes.

Since then, our garden has been doin’ so good. I believe next year, after we till again and if those beans grow so big like they done, I’ll be havin’ myself my very own booth in the farmers’ market right there on Broad Street, right next to those makers of jam and their beautiful jars.

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