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To better understand today's monologue, please read yesterday's - Jam Day #51
(Another monologue with T is on Day # 15 Lost and Profound)
Apr. 5, 2014 Day #52 Tea Leaves (for Book of Teas)- Monologue Mania (c) 2014
Tea Leaves (c) 2014 (for the Book of Teas)
by Janet S. Tiger
(c) all rights reserved 2014
(This continues where yesterday left off, with T in the kitchen with her daughter, Vivien. When T finishes telling about the jam, Vivien just sits, then starts to laugh)
Vivien- Peach jam……I remember putting up jam with you when I was just a little girl. (thinking back) I still remember how you used to announce the canning season…..you’d say (good imitation of her mother) …’Is ev’ryone ready to put summer in a jar?’ And the boys would laugh and say….’how do you put summer in a jar, mama?’ And you would say, ‘That’s what I’m gonna teach you! Don’t stand there like you were as dumb as a bagful of hammers – get me the jars!’
(She gets up to illustrate the story)
Vivien- And then you would have us do all the things little kids could do – we would bring in the glass jars from the pantry, where they had been stored since the last jars of put up had been eaten. And we would sit and inspect those jars for cracks – how long did you take to think of that job, mama? Or did your mama do that with you? And after the jars were deemed acceptable for use, we would open up the new package of lids……(imitates) ‘never use an old lid! If it leaks you could die of the swelling!’ This would be followed by a tale of woe, with some poor family that had died a truly horrible death - all because of botulism, caused by dirty jars...or using old lids!
What a way to teach us all about kitchen cleanliness! After eating jam at my other friend’s houses, I used to worry that their mothers might not have been as careful as you, and something horrible got into the jam….and were my fingers swelling?
And then the peaches were put into the warm water to soften, so you could peel off the peels with your fingers….that was a fun job, too. And by the time young interest levels had started to wain, it was time for the boiling part – and for young ones,-no boiling water, of course! To work with the boiling water, that was the ultimate sign of growing up! So we would all be sent out to play, while you and Ella would finish the task. And then, in a few months, when the rains had started, usually after a particularly bad week, out would come the jars……(imitates) ‘I think it’s time for summer!’ And oh, my, it truly did taste like summer! On those hot biscuits, the taste of the peaches was so good……you could close your eyes, and it would BE summer!
(Thinks back fondly, starts to laugh)
Vivien- (Still thinks it’s funny) I still find it amazing that no matter what the issue, a Southerner can find a way to relate it to food.
From the earliest days of our youth, we hear analogies that make it a wonder that we are not all fat as a house! A child who is not so fast as the others is a pudding..... slow and set in their ways! Or…slower than molasses in January. If you run around in a lightning storm, you better beware, or you could be….fried like a chicken for Sunday dinner! Or if something was particularly wonderful it was…’gooder than a turnip green sandwich….which I never understood because who in God’s green earth actually likes turnip green sandwiches? And of course, my favorite – (imitates an old lady) ‘Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!’
And now, to this wisdom-filled collection, you add the …jam. Tell me, mama, do you think this story warrants repeating to others? Or was it saved, like the last jar of peach jam, just for me?
And what am I supposed to be in this story, Mama? I am the peach jam, right? Ooh, I like that- I am…the jam. It’s got a Dr. Seuss-like sound to it. (Sings) I am the jam, I am, I am.
(Shakes her head)
I am the peach jam waiting for the man to give up his lust for the exotic raspberry jam, and return home to find me, still delicious after all these months. It is …..delicious!
(More upset) But think about it – am I supposed to be a jar of old jam, just sitting there, cold in that refrigerator – with that crusty stuff on the top that comes with years of dehydration. Is that me, Mama? Is that really what you think I am?
(Getting really upset) Well, perhaps you didn’t realize it, but I want to know something much more important – when do I know if it’s time for your little jar of peach jam to get sick of waiting…..and leave?
(She sits heavily, tired)
Do you have an answer for that, Mama? Perhaps you could make a story up for that question – maybe I could be a pot roast in this story….the little pot roast that could…..that could leave….
(She drinks the last of the tea and stands up)
Well, mama......(sarcastically) you've been a great help...thanks for listening..and thanks for the tea and…. jam…..session…
(She turns to leave, but her mother touches her arm……to be continued – on tomorrow’s blog entry!)