I like to drink milk. Usually... A LOT of milk. A regular glass, will be filled about 3 times during a dinner with me.... or one really big Mason Jar can get the job done. I'm not sure if being poor was more the catalyst for hanging onto Pom glasses or the fact that they're just really awesome, but I'm sure glad I did. Those Pom people up and changed it on me. Every once in a while I can find a few of them at a thrift store, but my trusty Mason jars are usually a pretty easy find.
Jars - are the new Tupperware! We all have the cottage cheese and sour cream containers that double as poor mans Tupperware, but you always open the wrong one assuming it's the leftovers, but it's actually the one touting to be cottage cheese... that actually IS cottage cheese. Or you assume you have Cool Whip because you have a Cool Whip container that you've seen upon the last perusal through the fridge... turns out it's the little bit of mashed potatoes you forgot about a month ago...
Well I've started upgrading... partially because there's a debate going on in our house. If you open a can of olives, or beans and you don't eat all the contents, is it safe to put the opened canned good and remaining food back in the refrigerator? If you google it, which is what I do, you'll find differing opinions. I'm sure if it would kill you, that would be posted loud and clear. It may discolor it, it may make it taste funny, some say it changes the chemical makeup, whatever. To appease the fear of the unknown... I've realized there's a fairly easy solution - that also creates complete clarity of what's inside!
At Trader Joes our artichokes come in jars... jars that are perfectly sized for those leftover olives or beans you didn't use up when you opened the can the other day... or the one on the far right has leftover pasta sauce for example. Not only does this actually not waste good food, or require a purchase of new Tupperware, the lid creates a better seal to ensure a better product anyway and they're clear! You always know what's inside... without pulling out the sharpie.
We also eat a lot of pickles... So many in fact, we buy them in very large jars, that come as a two pack at Costco. The 'zero waste' family puts their meats in big jars like this when they go to the grocery store so they don't waste the butcher paper... I've been wondering what else I could do with the big pickle jars (the one on the far left) and instinctively I googled it... I know, I have a problem :) but I came across something pretty neat... kind of along the lines of the purpose of this whole blog anyway...
The Pickle Jar
The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor
beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar.
As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled. I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window.
When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the
coins before taking them to the bank. Taking the coins to the bank was
always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck.
Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back." Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me."
We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. "When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again."
He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled
around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You'll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said.
"But you'll get there. I'll see to that"
The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town.
Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and
noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed. A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood.
My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of
determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.
When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly
pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me.
No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. "When you finish college, Son," he told me, his eyes glistening, "You'll never have to eat beans again...unless you want to."
The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed," she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her.
When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her
eyes. She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room. "Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins.
I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a
fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me,
I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying
Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he
was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.