Peaches

For those who are following my blog, I have been writing about my 93 year old neighbor Mary. I saw her walking to the store this morning. She was going to get some peaches. Here in the Pacific North West, its prime peach season.

When I was in college, in Huntsville Texas, I had an elderly neighbor too. His name was Mr. Neighbor. Really, that was his name. He was in his 80’s. His wife had died recently. This was his second wife. His first wife and all their children had been tragically killed in a fire.  I checked in on him periodically and quickly, we became friends. He made great iced tea.

He was lonely. He always asked me about my classes. I was getting my degree in Agriculture. (I really wanted a degree in Horticulture but had to settle on that as a minor.)  When I told him that I was taking a summer class on canning, he told me his wife had left him a freezer full of peaches. He asked if I could make him some peach jam. With the confidence of youth, I smiled at him and said sure.

I went to the local Piggly Wiggly and bought all the jars and lids and supplies that I would need. (For those who do not know, this is a grocery store chain with this silly name.) I heard that it is still there.

I methodically sterilized everything the way I had been taught in my class. It was my first attempt outside of the lab. I was a bit nervous. I did not want to make the big mistake and give him botulism.

Mr. Neighbor gave me the bags of frozen peaches. I carefully thawed them out.

It wasn’t long before I realized they were not peaches. They were chicken livers and gizzards.

I was way too familiar with chicken livers and gizzards because I worked the dinner shift at Tinsley’s Southern Fried Chicken and that was the most popular item on the dinner menu.

You could get a box of them with a large yeast roll and a jalapeño for one dollar. Yes, $1.oo. It was our best seller.

So I fried up all the chicken parts and had a bunch of friends over. (We were all poor and hungry students.)

I went back to the Piggly Wiggly and bought peaches and made Mr. Neighbor some peach jam.

Just now, I cut up some of the peaches Mary bought and shared with me. I am going to freeze some to use later when there will not be fresh peaches to eat with my daily granola and yogurt.

I will be sure to label the bags: Peaches.