In my grandparents’ basement, lines of Mason jars, stiff as soldiers in parade formation, filled the rough pine shelves. Provisions hard won over weeks of sweltering stovetop labor. Tomatoes boiled, peeled, and jarred hot floated like wagging tongues next to pickles bearded with fresh dill and beets the color of pooled blood. Spiny okra fingers reached toward the tempting ripeness of blushing apricots, while jars of disembodied corn and peas thumbed from their snug pods swam above jellies and jams, relishes and soups. When the tornado came, we ran to their summer stillness, sat fearful in neat rows as the wind raged overhead like a slighted god, felt the pressure squeezing our bones. The house held its breath, prayed to be passed over, all the while, the jars chattering like teeth.
Jamie A. Hughes is a writer/editor who lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, sons, and two needy cats. She has been published in Ink & Letters, The Bitter Southerner, Barren Magazine, and You Are Here Stories. You can find more of her work and other ramblings at tousledapostle.com.