I can’t believe it is already September! Where has 2016 gone? Shit! I sound like an old woman, railing against the passage of time! Fall means I need to start canning and here in the desert heat I end up doing it late at night.
We knew we were going back to school the Wednesday after Labor Day
This summer was such a whirlwind of activity and travel that I have barely had a chance to catch my breath. As a child, summer was a time to rest, rejuvenate and enjoy. We knew we were going back to school the Wednesday after Labor Day, so we made the most of summer. We took advantage of every sweet bite before fall and back-to-school sunk their claws into us. Trips to Lake Taghkanic (pronounced tuh-CON-ik ) were the norm, but so was weeding the garden. Going to Gram’s house on Long Island was a forgone conclusion with visits to Jones Beach. We’d go early in the morning and grab fresh bagels on the way as the icing on that particular cake. (Moment of Truth – I rarely go to the beach without wanting a salt bagel with lox cream cheese now.) If we were lucky we got to go to Lake George and to Storytown (now Six Flags Great Escape). I know my mom worked her ass off all summer so we COULD go and do those things. In fact, one glorious summer she was the concession manager at Lake Taghkanic and we went with her most days. [I honestly don’t have a lot of great memories of my childhood, but that summer was epic in my now adult mind. I learned how to do crossword puzzles, run a cotton candy machine, make popcorn in a movie theater style popper and had swim lessons with cute lifeguards whose names I still remember.]
There she was, over a cinderblock fire pit canning everything and anything as if we were preparing for the coming of The Walking Dead
And I remember Mom canning in late summer and early fall. If you know my mom at all, you know how hilarious this sounds. She HATES to cook. Loves to bake, hates to cook. Late summer and early fall were always the worst for Mom because of her allergies. Yet, there she was, over a cinderblock fire pit – no, I am not kidding – wasps flying around, canning everything and anything as if preparing for the coming of The Walking Dead (Moment of Truth #2 – I am completely addicted to that show and can’t wait for the season premiere). I know I have shared this thought before and I wish I had a picture, because my 51 year old brain still can’t make sense of it, even though I witnessed it.
I am not sure what it is about fall that makes me want to live in my past
So now, in my middle age, I find myself prepping for the zombie apocalypse. I am not sure if it is an imperative of generations of farm to table living, needing to prepare for the known cold winter coming through my DNA. Maybe it’s that what once was old school is now fashionable again, or just simple nostalgia. I am canning, preserving and baking. In recent weeks I have made and canned tomato sauce, meatballs, chicken stock and peeled and canned fresh tomatoes. I’ve dried herbs and gotten them into storage. And I am weeding the garden that I allowed to go fallow this summer. I am not sure what it is about fall that makes me want to live in my past because I rarely want to revisit that. You know, Hakuna Matata and all that. But here I am, acting like some country housewife of days gone by.
Make no mistake, I live in a CITY (where I personally belong), not in the country any more. I am surrounded by concrete and desert landscaping, just the way I like it for most of the year. The siren song of water – lakes, beaches and rivers – holds no sway over me as it did in my childhood, although I do love a good thunderstorm. Vegas could never be called the cradle of the Farm to Table movement. It could never be called the Breadbasket of America. But just for now, in my little corner of the city, what constitutes fall in the desert feels like a modernized version of my past.