— My mother, picking up the phone at my usual time to call: “Hi, honey.”
— My husband, Kevin, simply being Kevin: “You’re my girl.”
Some elicit giggles of delight:
— Cracking thunder as nearby lightning vibrates the air.
— Heart-stopping final boom-boom-booms of an elaborate fireworks display
— The call of our new Siamese, sounding eerily like our first, as she frantically patters from room to room searching for me.
Others call up deep satisfaction:
— Our kids, when I’ve made their favorite meal or dessert: “This is so good!”
— The reverberations of a chugging press off downtown buildings after a long evening preparing the Sunday Times.
But the simple little “pop” as a canning jar seals somehow combines all three of these emotions.
By now, in our third season of canning, it would seem to be “old hat,” but with each little “pop” I flash Kevin a big grin. I can’t help it.
It’s akin to the red smiley face my early teachers would draw next to my grade: A symbolic, auditory “job well done.”
The long journey to get to that point starts with selecting the seeds or nursery stock. For long months (even years), we tend the plants, watering, feeding and angsting, then picking and preparing. All before filling the jars, tightening the caps and plunging them into the boiling water.
So, there’s a lot of labor and love invested in those glistening pints and quarts.
We carefully set them on cooling racks and admire them a moment before setting about cleaning the inevitable mess. With our backs turned and our focus elsewhere, the first “pop!” signals at least one jar is now full of safely stored goodness from the garden.
A tiny “ee!” escapes my lips, and I grin like a fool.
Others follow. While we’re finishing the dishes. After we’ve moved to another room.
The best come after a late-night canning session when we’ve fallen exhausted into bed.
With my head on the pillow, I hear a faint “pop!” coming from downstairs in the kitchen.
I just close my eyes and smile, perfectly content and satisfied.