Though food canning is becoming a bygone homemaking skill since the invention of case lot sales, I actually can can tomatoes, applesauce, salsa, corn, beans and many more nutritious preserves my children wish I wouldn’t.
Because of my mad food preservation skills, I thought it appropriate to sign up to work at the Ogden Cannery when the assignment sheet came around at church last week.
I recruited my best buddy and, after we stuffed our curls into hairnets and pulled smocks over our clothes in preparation to handle food, I felt like we should link arms and chant “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” But that’s a Jewish hopscotch chant and Laverne & Shirley worked in a brewery so it seemed unfitting for the setting in a couple ways.
We sat through a brief training video, which explained how wet floors are slippery and nose picking is unsanitary.
Let’s get to work!
We were led into the workroom where the homey scent of broth filled the air. It was chicken noodle soup day.
This seemed like a much better gig than last time when I ended up as an assembly line speed potato peeler on beef stew day.
Though I hoped to work alongside Shirley, she was whisked away to the packaging department. I was bummed about it until I learned I got to work “noodle duty.” My official job was to take the cans that were rejected off the assembly line for being underweight in noodle content and add pasta to meet the status quo.
I’d be like a super hero!
Thanks to me, no can of soup would leave the facility with an unfair ratio of meat and vegetables to noodles! I mean, what is worse than running out of noodles before you finish those soggy cubed carrots, right?
Beyond saving the world from noodle deprivation, my work at the cannery that day prompted a life epiphany. When all the machinery was in working order, not very many cans of soup needed my attention so I’d sit there with nothing to do but watch the clock, and everyone knows a watched clock never boils.
To distract myself I’d make rules about how often I could look at the clock . . . like only after counting 100 cans pass by which only takes about 2 minutes, btw. Occasionally the machinery would malfunction and many cans needed my attention. I’d get backed up and stressed out and work feverishly thinking I’d never catch up.
Then I would.
And I’d be bored.
And have to count cans.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the responsibilities I have in my life. Family, work, house, yard, church, errands, meals, bills, Trivia Crack and on and on!
It feels like I’ll never catch up, but you know what? That’s okay.
I’m needed, loved and busy with meaningful work and if I ever did catch up then I’d just be watching the clock or mindlessly counting cans.