I watch Gramma prep the glass jars by washing them with blue soap and clouds of hot water before roasting them in the oven as high as she dares set it. The massive pot—the one she used to bathe me in when I was little—hisses under its lid, fixed to boil.
She waves a thick, soft arm in my direction without looking. I scurry from my seat at the kitchen table to join her. It’s the first year I’ve been allowed to watch, and I don’t want to miss a single step.
We don’t speak as she pours plain white vinegar into the jars. Or as she measures coarse salt in the palm of her callused hand. Or as she pinches dill and cracks pepper and spoons coriander. I pass her the sugar; she likes them more sweet than sour. The contents of the jars cloud and swirl until I can’t make them out even by squinting.
We work in silence until she puts the lid back on the roiling pot and starts the timer.
“Why do you save up your memories like this, Gramma?” I whisper.
She pulls me into her side. The puff of air between us smells like yeasty dough, like brine, like home. “You just never know when you might need them,” she says.
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