The sense of smell can do wonderful things. I am sitting in my kitchen and I am thrown back I time to Nan and Pop Whyatt’s house. When summer would come in Newfoundland, it usually meant a visit to Pilley’s Island to my Nan and Pop’s house. My grandmother was a saintly woman and a real caregiver. One of my fondest memories is rhubarb pies. Tonight I am making some rhubarb jam. Thank you to Jack and Minnie Heeley who grew the stuff. I readied everything and out it in the pot and turned it all on. Soon the mixture fragranced the house with that smell that can only be described as delicious. It is a smell that for me immediately places me back in that little house on Pilley’s Island.
The pies that Nan made were legendary. Not just rhubarb either! She made raspberry, blueberry, lemon meringue, and bakeapple. She made the best pastry. She would spend hours on her pastry for her pie resulting in a pie crust that could not be beat. In all that she did she put a lot of care, faith and love. It paid off. She fed me with pie that I shall always remember. She fed me spiritually and influenced who I am today. She gave me a mother that cares as much as she did – and that is more than I can ask for. She is with me often.
We lost Nan in 1992 at Christmas time. I miss her. From time to time she visits me. Sounds odd – I know. But it is, for me, very true. Today I smelled my way into a visit with her. I regret that I never told Nan of my plan to be priest in the church. She was such a devout Salvationist and such a holy person – she would have been pleased by that. More than all of that – I wish I would have told her how much her faith meant to me – and how very much I loved her rhubarb pies.
My jam is almost ready. Just a sec. Hmm … It tastes good – but it is a far cry from Nanny Whyatt’s. Oh well – the jam has already paid me more than I could have asked.