And then I came across several pages of stories I had written...why weren't these in one of the notebooks of stories?? Why were they just in a stack of papers? Who isn't more organized than this? Sheesh!! Better do something about it. And then I started to read. Oh my goodness, THIS is why we should write things down. We forget some very tender things. And sometimes we remember all the BAD things we did as parents, and forget that we occasionally did something good. Since I got to email Dallin this morning, I've been thinking about him a bit more today, so I loved coming across this story in particular. Maybe some of you kids will remember it, too.
Every spring and summer we work hard to get as many blackberries off the vines as possible. Some years are better than others, even for the growers up north. This particular year was very good for us and the growers. We had bag upon bag of frozen strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries in our freezer down in the basement. The convenience of having the frozen fruit available at a moments notice was enjoyed by all, but especially me. Pies and jams were a common sight and quickly made ready when we desired something more special than apricot or peach.
One day I went downstairs to get something out of the freezer, but long before I got to the storage room door, I noticed the loud blaring of the freezer alarm. It would go off if the freezer had been left open and the temperature was dropping. I only had a moment to worry before I had walked through the storage room to the freezer. The door was standing wide open and EVERYTHING in the freezer was defrosted or nearly defrosted. I was sick! I clamped my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming. Who could have left this open and RUINED all of our food like this?!!
Suddenly, I remembered asking Dallin, who was four years old at the time, to go downstairs and get some bread out the day before. Apparently he didn’t shut the door and none of the other kids heard the alarm going off. I didn’t want to be rude to Dallin, but at the same time I was so upset about the loss of all that fruit. I went upstairs and asked Dallin to come downstairs with me. When we were standing in front of the oozing mess, I asked Dallin if he had left the door open. He looked up at me with wide eyes and slowly nodded his head, “Yes.” In that same instant I had an idea. I said, “Since you forgot to shut the door, all of the fruit is going to be ruined...unless we do something with it really quick. Help me put all the fruit into these buckets and take them upstairs.”
Without dripping too much sticky juice on the carpet, we got the freezer cleaned out and took the buckets of fruit upstairs. Dallin wanted to know if we were going to throw away all of the melted fruit. I said, “If we did that it would all be wasted and we wouldn’t remember this wonderful experience. No, we’re going to make JAM out of it.” So for the next couple of hours, Dallin and I mixed all the fruit together, added tons of sugar and Sure-Jell, then cooked and stirred the concoction until it started to thicken. As we poured it into all the plastic tubs we could find, Dallin wanted to know what kind of jam we had just made. I was a bit puzzled because it was such a combination of all the fruits that had been defrosted. After thinking for a moment, I came up with the perfect name. I said, “THIS is DALLIN-BERRY JAM!” He was pleased to know that he had such a great tasting jam named after him.
Now, whenever we make jam that is a combination of fruit, it doesn't matter what fruit is used. We call it “Dallin-berry Jam.”