My sister's coffee can

The earliest I remember were Hills Brothers, the ones that looked like this one. My mother was a coffee junkie, so there were plenty to be had. The ones that weren’t used for berry picking were used for Christmas cookies.

When berry season was upon us, my mother would wait for a nice sunny day in the forecast, then call us both in sick, and off we’d go, with a hamper of fried chicken and potato salad. She could spot blueberry bushes from the car as we drove by and would holler at my father to “STOP!” There was, and is, nothing like sitting on the side of a mountain in a berry patch, with that stunning scenery all around you. Our favorite place back then was Hatcher Pass, just north of Anchorage. In recent years, my wife and I preferred areas along the Denali Highway.

Atomic Mama: You may be too early for berries in Sitka, but it’s been way too many years since I was a kid in Southeast Alaska. In South Central, berry season is generally late August or even early September. Also, you might find cloudberries, but they are more common to the tundra/arctic regions.

Somewhere in this house I have a small cloth bag that contains…a green pearl-handled switchblade knife that belonged to my brother.

If I had to choose one item that reminds me of him, that would be it. Not because he was a ne’er-do-well or anything like that, but because the knife reminds me of that time when I was 12 and he was 13, when we were innocent boys, when he bought it from his friend Steve who had allegedly smuggled it home after a vacation in Germany, in his dirty underwear bag. I coveted that knife and was never allowed to touch it.

When my dad and I went to his house to clean out his stuff, I immediately looked for the knife, and I knew where he would have hidden it–because I know how his mind worked. I found it tucked in the space between two side-by-side drawers inside an old bookshelf thing he had.

I don’t have much else from my brother, and he has been gone now for more years than he was alive.

I’m glad you have the coffee can.

You made me tear up at work.

I will forgive you later when my co workers quit asking me if I’m a girly-man.

What a beautiful tribute.

Thanks for posting this; it stirred a lot of thought in my brain.

This whole thread is beautiful. When I’m done sniffling, I’ll try to come back and contribute.

Beautiful! Thank you!

I think I know how much your sister means to you. Thank you for touching a universal yearn for continuity, and sharing it’s completeness.

Really nice.

Somehow it’s the simplest items that bring the happiest memories.

I’ve mentione before, I think, the candy dish I got from my grandmother. She recieved it as a thank you gift in 1924, when she was teaching school in a one room schoolhouse.

One of my earliest memories is that dish on her back porch, containing pillow mints, peppermint, and lemon drops. We grandkids would try to lift the lid soundlessly to get the candy, snickering to ourselves that we’d successfully put one over on Grandma. Of course we later learned she always knew what we were up to, but gave us the pleasure of not letting on.

It’s a cheap orange footed dish, with a lid that has a circular black stripe around the edge. If I had to run for my life out of the house, and had time to get one thing besides my pets, it would be that dish. I value it over anything else I own, because of the love I had for my grandmother.

Something similar: my mother’s huckleberry pie. We were sent into the woods to collect the huckleberries, and given a bell and a bucket. The bucket was for the berries, and the bell was for – the bears! Just ring it once in a while! \

And it was worth it, the woods, the bears, just to have my mother’s huckleberry pie with pastry from scratch.

That was love on a fork.

Chefguy, we got married in Hatcher Pass on a brilliant September afternoon, five years ago this upcoming fall. It was a small ceremony, only about 12 people / friends and family. The pastor brought his 12-string Martin and sang “The Wedding Song” to the winds.

It’s been a favorite place for me since I was a kid who went hunting ptarmigan up there. That was way before it became a tourist area. The Independence gold mine was falling into ruin and the road up there was a real challenge to navigate. It was also the only route to Willow, as the Parks Highway didn’t exist. It was a sad day for me when they paved the road, as it meant that tour buses would soon start arriving. Little Susitna River is my favorite scenic river.

Dammit Chefguy, the doctor says I’m not supposed to weep this early in the morning!

I hear ya Chefguy.

Every day I use a teaspoon that my father accidentally stole from the Officers’ Mess at Elmendorf AFB and gave to my mother as a “present”. It’s stamped U.S., which Mom and Dad said was for Ursula Sourdough.

I guess I smile a little bit every morning when I stir my coffee and remember my parents and consider how lucky I was to have them.

A wonderful expression of an enviable love.

Thanks for sharing and may your all memories be so tender.

Beautiful thoughts.