I grew up in an era when elderly parents routinely lived with their children when they could no longer care for themselves. Before the days of nursing homes and assisted living centers, it was necessary to look after the elderly. As a side bonus, the older generation could provide valuable insight to family history, assist in childcare and nurturing, and contribute to family income, all the while enjoying family and feeling as a valued asset to the family unit.
This past week, I was able to enjoy such time with my own daughter and grandsons. Having been planned for weeks in advance, my wife Helen was out of town just as the tomatoes in my garden all ripened, seemingly, on the very day Helen left. Not to be deterred, the troops arrived, picked several baskets of juicy ripe tomatoes, and proceeded to process them. We washed the Mason jars, scalded the tomatoes, peeled and cored them, and packed them in quart jars. A few hours later, we were all tired, sweaty and quite pleased to have canned 26 quarts of the freshest, tastiest tomatoes in Parker County.
This winter we can enjoy the delicious flavor of the garden fresh tomatoes when nothing to match can be found in local stores. Yet, perhaps more important than preserving our food was the aspect of teaching the younger generation an ethic and a skill that they will remember for the remainder of their lives.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.