Mixsonian

Deeply Rooted
The Pickle Jar

The Pickle Jar Click on the Jar to open it.

  What is a jar?  Is it just a container or does it hold something more?   A jar is something simple, a glass container with a lid, but it is only what it holds that makes it valuable, something special?  In the days of my grandmother, jars were a necessary part of life, providing a means to live, a way to survive.  In those days, without refrigeration, mason jars were necessary to keep your food, to survive.  How to “can” using mason jars was passed down from generation to generation.  Grandma passed the need to “can” to my Dad who, even in this day of refrigeration, has year after year got the mason jars out and “canned”.  My brother sisters and I still may pull a jar of homemade jelly my dad made out of the of the freezer and take it home to enjoy. 
 
  From my early childhood days jars were something special, not for the jar itself but for what I could put in them.  My earliest memory of a jar was at grandma and grandpa Mixson’s house in the country catching fireflies.  Grandma would find an old jar, punch holes in the lid and my brother and I would catch fireflies and put them in the jar and put it on the dresser.  We would fall asleep in the bed with the fireflies be blinking on and off in the jar. 

  Jars were not easy to come by, the best jars were the mayonnaise jars for they were both big and had a big opening, perfect for putting things in, peanut butter jars were pretty good to, but not quite as big.  I had to keep a watch on the jars in the refrigerator, checking their progress towards emptiness.  If I wasn’t careful, mom would throw the jar in thrash, so I had to make sure it was saved, washed and put away until needed.

Grandpa and his truck.

  But then there is the Jar of all Jars, the GALLON jar.  The first time I saw one was in the old general store.  Grandpa took me with him his old truck to the store in McIntosh to buy some supplies.  We went into the old general store and there on the counter was the giant gallon pickle jar.  I’m not sure if I said something or Grandpa saw me looking at the pickle jar and asked if I wanted one and I said yes.  I was really thinking more about the jar then the pickles in it when I said yes.  The man got a pair of tongs, opened the jar, grabs one, puts it on a piece of wax paper and hands it to me.  I say thank you as I was taught, eyes bulging at the size of that pickle.   I take a bite and it’s not bad but after a few more I realize that is one big pickle, there was no way I would be able to eat it all.   On the way home, I tossed it out the window of grandpa’s truck when he wasn’t looking, saying all along how good it was.  Never again would I buy one of those pickles.

  But there was still the thought, the dream, in the back of my mind of someday I would have a pickle Jar.  The ultimate jar, one you could put most anything in.  In my unior year of high school I finally got one, the ultimate jar, the gallon pickle jar.   It stayed empty though that year and the next when I graduated.  The year after high school I moved out mom and dads to live with a friend and I took the empty jar with me.  A year or two later mom tells me she is getting of my old desk and if I wanted it or what’s in it.   I didn’t want the desk but did want what was in it.  It looked like a bunch of junk, but each item had held a bit of memory for me.  I gathered up all the items in the desk and put them in the pickle jar. 

   So what is a jar?  For me it not only contains memories, but the jar itself is a memory, a memory deeply rooted.
 

Larry Mixson, May 15, 2019