Grandpa McClure’s farm supplied his family with many fruits and vegetables during the summer and winter. He always raised corn, half runner beans, potatoes, onions, lettuce, apples, strawberries, pears, plums, watermelons, mushmellons and grapes. Eating the fresh vegetables in the summer was easy, but lots of work went into freezing and canning for the winter.
Grandpa worked a day job at Wesvaco and was a farmer evenings and Saturday’s. He raised big gardens and expected there to be no waste to the harvest. Granny had a big cellar that was full of canned food and more would be added during the summer. My mom always helped Granny with the canning.
Back in the 50’s people based their value on things very different from today. Women were judged by how many quarts of food they canned, did their laundry look nice and white when it was hung on the clothes line and how well they could quilt and sew. The men boasted of how well their gardens produced, could they repair anything that broke and they were the boss of the family (or so they thought).
Grandpa had a grape arbor and to me it looked dead. I thought he must be crazy to think anything would appear on these dead vines. Grandpa just kept on snipping, pruning and looking at this old dead vine. Before long leaves would appear, but it still looked hopeless. I just couldn’t believe what was happening. This old dead vine was starting to bear green grapes that soon turned purple.
I can still see Grandpa with a bushel basket under the grape arbor. He would gather the grapes and take them in for Grandma to wash. She would cook the grapes, strain them, ad sugar and Sure-Jel to the juice. She would pour the jelly into little jars and seal them. The next morning Grandma would make homemade bis-quits for breakfast and we would spread them with the grape jelly.
All the work that Grandpa put into that old dead vine made it possible for everyone else to enjoy the finished product. I think Grandpa must have used his God given faith in taking care the the grapevine and knew that something good would happen if he would just be patient. I learned this lesson and have applied it to much of my adult life.