The web defines heritage as "practices that are handed down from the past by tradition."
My mother grew up on a farm. They made do with little. She learned canning and all of her adult life, canned all the bounty from our garden. We had a large pantry that was filled to the brim with canned green beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, grape juice, pickles, pears, peaches, and the list goes on.
I moved away from home when I was 18 and came to Alaska, where I've lived ever since. It hasn't been without regrets that I've lived so far away from family for so long. You miss out on so much. You're not at all the family gatherings and reunions; you're not hearing stories, learning family history, or gathering memories. Yes, I have many regrets about living here all my life.
But it's funny how you take your heritage with you, even if you don't know what it is at the time. I'm so much like my mom and I can see me in my daughter and my son. Some times I find myself holding on to a purse in my lap when riding in the car and I think, "oh, no, I've turned into my mom!" But some heritage is good. I love to garden; I love crafting and making things with my hands; I love making my house a home, I love the simple things in life. Thank you, mom.
But one tradition, one part of our heritage, that didn't get passed down to me was canning our bounty. I could defend myself by saying it's because we don't have the fresh produce available here. It costs a small fortune to feed a family, let alone buy in bulk to can.
My son has proven me wrong. My son, 23 years old, has lived here all of his life.... has carried on the family tradition of canning. I am so proud of him, I could burst. He started canning pickles last year and has moved into pickled beans, cucumber relish, dill asparagus, salmon, and other treats. And it's good! Michelle, his sweetie, has even dove in and made some pickled garlic.
I am so proud of my children. All two of them AND their partners. All of them. Family is so important to them as is family traditions and their heritage. Tracy commented the other day how Bucky is "just like grandpa." He has turned his linen closet into a pantry and is filling it, stockpiling it if you will, with his home canned bounties. I am so proud that he's carrying on the family tradition of canning; canning and sharing his bounty; canning and making memories; canning.... because he's his grandmother's grandson....