A hot, sticky mess

We awoke to many loud popping sounds, almost like gunshots going off. It was the middle of the night. I sat up in bed, my heart pounding. What happened?

My parents, sister, brother, and I ran out of our bedrooms, down the hall, and into the kitchen to find out what had happened. We were shocked. The paneled walls in our dining room, the flowered border wallpaper, the olive green refrigerator, and the painted walls were covered in grape jelly.

A few days prior, we had visited my grandma’s house, and spent an afternoon picking grapes off the grapevines in her backyard. We did it every year. Our fingers purple hued with grape juice. I rarely popped one in my mouth as the tart taste was not my favorite. What I loved is what we would do when we brought our bounty home. Our kitchen turned into grape central. Massive pots brewing and stewing grapes and the counter lined with Ball jars ready for the final product. My mom mostly made grape jelly. Maybe there were other concoctions of grape canning or cooking, but I only remember the jelly. I loved and hated it all at once. It was a lot of work, but the result? Yummy grape jelly (my favorite) for breakfast!

So the grape covered walls? My mom had been canning the grape jelly and had not waited long enough for the grape jelly to cool before sealing the lids on top of the jars. In the middle of the night, the heat inside the jars had made them explode, leaving our kitchen and dining room splattered with grape jelly. It was a bit of a shock and funny all at the same time. The bummer part? My sister, brother, and I had to clean up the hot, sticky mess.

I think of it every time I smear grape jelly on my toast.

4 thoughts on “A hot, sticky mess

  1. That’s awesome! Although it would also be terrible to have to clean jelly off the walls, build up your arm muscles though.


  2. My family canned tomatoes, and I’ve done it, but only once – it always terrified me that an explosion would occur when someone was standing near the jars.

    Great story – thanks for sharing it.


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