Canning bounty helps gardeners enjoy their plot, and shows the beauty of neighbors helping neighbors.
The glorious days of spring had worked their magic and were now passed. It was the middle of summer at our mountain haven, and the garden plants were bowing under the heavy weight of an abundance of fruit. Here we were, living as frugally as many are, but it’s all worth it; with wonderful family, the best neighbors, the independence, the quietness, interrupted only by the bubbling creek, an alarmed jay or a refreshing breeze … It all exuded happiness and contentment. It felt like we had the whole “holler” to ourselves, except for one house up on the hill behind our place. They were quiet neighbors, tidy and always willing to help … and wonderful gardeners. We would often drool over the produce in their garden. It was truly a sight to behold.
This particular year, we heard the news of a serious accident that put this couple out of commission for months. They returned home, but certainly were not able to do much more than walk down to the garden and grieve the loss of a potentially bountiful harvest. Being the kind-hearted people they were, they told us to feel free to pick all we could from their garden. However, it seemed like a crime to benefit from all their hard work. That’s when we had an idea.
One night, we snuck into their garden (feeling like thieves and worried about our reputation). All the green beans and tomatoes hanging from the plants were nearly suffocating us, but we picked and picked, until we couldn’t imagine doing any more. We left with a full load of produce, yet our efforts didn’t seem to lessen the burden on the plants.
The next day, we visited the home of a church member with a wonderful kitchen dedicated to canning and other food preservation methods — and can we did. Boxes of glimmering jars filled with fresh produce were packed into our vehicle, and up the mountain and back home we headed. We presented our gifts to the neighbors that day, and, of course, they were most thankful. We felt it was a small price to pay for the joy and satisfaction we had been given that day.
That spirit of cooperation between neighbors is just the way it should be, a real blessing for both parties involved, and just another of the many joys of country living.
Share your stories of Good Samaritans, helping hands, paying it forward, and other altruistic deeds — whether you were on the receiving end or you remember the great feeling of doing the right thing. Email a 300- to 500-word article to Editor-in-Chief Hank Will (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we may publish it in a future issue of the magazine. Mail articles to The Right Thing, GRIT and CAPPER’s Editorial, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. The Good Samaritan involved in each printed article, if known, will receive a five-year complimentary subscription.
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