Sometimes I think about the difference in my childhood and my grandchildren's. My summers were filled with work and play, most of it out of doors. My Mother always had a large garden and summer time was filled with the gathering of the produce, the process of preparing it for canning or freezing. We "put up" jams, jellies, soups, vegetables and fruits to sustain us through the winter months and beyond. I didn't help with the final process until I was a teen, though. I can see my Mother still standing in the kitchen in front of the stove as she lifted the jars from the canner and set them on the counter, covered by a towel, to cool. And then we'd listen as each one made that popping sound of its lid which let us know it was sealed.
I had my chores to do every day and there was no playing until those were completed. Our play sometimes consisted of long bike rides or hikes through the rural community where we lived. The roads were all dirt or chert and there was very little traffic. However, there were also trails through the woods and around the fields of neighbor farmers which we often took and discovered new treasures of nature among the familiar. Our neighbor's doors were always open with offerings of a glass of water, lemonade and sometimes cake or cookies. Those same neighbor's houses were not a few steps away as are the houses in my area today but were often a quarter mile away.
Now compare this to the times in which we live: My grandchildren spend most of their time indoors where the air conditioners hum and they play with electronic games....
The last few weeks, I've been "putting up" produce from the garden. I have now frozen Okra, Corn, Peppers and Zucchini. My kitchen can become quite warm during this time even with air conditioning and fans but nothing compared to the heat in Mama's kitchen during canning time.
Mama went home to heaven on July 29th 2005.