People measure their years. Most measure from January 1 to December 31. As a teacher, I also measure my years from September to August. Or in seasons. Dance season. Soccer season. This weekend, I measure it in applesauce.
Every fall, we make homemade applesauce. Mom has done it for as long as I can remember. When Dad got home from work, he would jump in and help. Then, for a few years, while we were young adults, the applesauce stopped because it was't eaten all that often. But it began again once we were married. I started helping Mom and Dad on a Saturday so we coud do it together. Then the kids came around and all the grandchildren LOVED homemade applesauce. Wouldn't eat anything else. So it became a tradition that every fall, Dad would get the apples, Mom, Dad and I would make the applesauce and we would enjoy it all year. Several years ago, Annette came down to help too, and took several containers home each time she visited.
Yesterday was applesauce day once again. Dad got the apples and we made buckets full of sauce. It is a great tradition. We drink coffee and cook apples, get take-out lunch and grind apples. Add the sugar and cinnamon and taste-test it. Try to find all the matching lids for the multitude of weird shaped containers. It's a fun and productive day.
As I rinsed the containers, I thought of all the years of applesauce those containers have seen. Mom probably cooked a wonderful meal and opened some of those containers herself. Annette helped fill some of those containers in years gone by. Those containers saw many holidays and special occasions over the years. We've opened a container each and every week over the last two years when we shared a meal with Dad. Those meals have comforted us in our two years of grief.
We are now in a new chapter of applesauce making, new houses, new faces to enjoy it with us. We are missing a part of the tradition. I felt some sadness while rinsing those containers. Missing the times of years gone by. Missing the company of Annette and Mom. But, we have also added new parts to our tradition. Sara helped wash apples. Menny ran for sugar and helped clean up and did the dreaded job of washing the floor after (thanks, Menny!) That is the great thing about traditions. They can change and blend, but they are still traditions.
I know that we will be blessed this year by our hard work yesterday. I know we will enjoy our applesauce in the company of family. It is good.