It's that time of year again
It seems like yesterday
When Mother started canning
And took us from our play

We had to go 'way under the house
To get the canning jars
Fighting bugs and spider webs
While crawling on all fours

Huffing and puffing, trip after trip
We dragged the boxes out
Then we got to wash the jars
All dreading it, no doubt

Hot, soapy water in a number three tub
But first we had to rinse
Jars with bugs and old dried food
The memory still makes me wince

Before the days of wide-mouth jars
The kids with the smallest hands
Had to wash inside the jars
While the others scalded the bands

When the jars were sparkling clean
It was time for them to boil
In another big tub of water
It was tote and lift and toil

Others gathered and cleaned the veggies
And got them ready to can
The jars were filled and put in a tub
Then cooked for a half-day span

The process repeated over and over
Till the old wash house was filled
With hundreds of jars of good canned food
Mother always looked so thrilled

A really harsh taskmaster
Mother pushed us with everything in her
But she was wise and she knew that
We'd need it all come winter

Kathleen McCoy EldridgeŠ
August 10, 2005
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