There’s nothing better than canned peaches, if you’ve never tried. them.

Canned Peaches | Reluctant Entertainer

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Life knocks us all off course at one time or another. For my friend, Jeannie, that would have been this past month while she’s been recovering from an illness. So I tried to make her birthday special last week by making her home-canned peaches. There’s nothing better than canned peaches, if you’ve never tried. them.

Canned Peaches | Reluctant Entertainer

Peaches, straight from the orchard, laid onto crinkled old paper to ripen in the warm sun, and then sliding the skins right off the peach, and placing each half gently into a wide-mouthed canning jar.

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It’s the way my Mama showed me. I always got the job, back then (1970’s), with my small hand that fit perfectly to lay each peach half into the jar. It was a combination of my being the youngest (smallest hand), and then the fact that Mom used only narrow-mouth jars. I begged Mom to get wide-mouth jars, but that would have been wasteful. I agree. Canning jars are not cheap, unless you buy them at a yard sale like I did years ago. I scored with only $1 for each box. Unheard of and hard to find today!

Canning peaches | Reluctant Entertainer

Back to Jeannie. It was my pleasure to spend an afternoon canning peaches, and then taking them over on her birthday.

I put them in a box, still warm from the canner, and added my “RE stamp” of LOVE. :)

Canned Peaches | Reluctant Entertainer

Added a few fresh garden tomatoes, some beautiful sunflowers to cheer her up,.

And a card from the family.

Canned Peaches | Reluctant Entertainer

Here’s my favorite part of the story today. I knew Jeannie and her husband Minor were hosting a dinner party that night for neighbors, sort of like a progressive party, and the main course was at their home.

I walked in on the main course. Everyone was on the back patio. I could hear their voices–it sounded so lovely.

The tinkling of the forks on the plates of food, the music in the background, the water running in the fountain.

And then I heard Jeannie laugh.

Her beautiful laugh, which to me was a sign that she was having a great time with her friends, and feeling pretty good!

It warmed my heart, as I put the box on the kitchen counter, and snuck out before anyone would see me.

What I love about my friend Jeannie is her gratitude for the gift of each day. For this season, as she’s embracing what she’s had to let go (gardening–although she did tell me she planted her pansies with her “left arm”–and traveling), she still finds laughter in the day-to-day, and she loves her friends and family with all of her heart.

The laughter that night I think was contagious, because I heard her friends join in. I’m sure she felt so loved.

Not knowing what tomorrow holds, but embracing the rhythm of today. Friends who love you, surround you, care about you, would do anything for you.

And warm peaches on the counter.

What kind of homemade gifts do you like to bring your friends?