Williston Presbyterian Church
207 Elko Street P.O. Box 391 Williston, South Carolina (803) 266-3623
Rev. Dr. Beth Yarborough, Pastor
June 30, 2020
In my Mother’s yard at her childhood home in Jamison were pear and fig trees. One of my favorite things to do with her was to make Aunt Blanche’s recipe for pear honey and fig preserves. The little one-half pint jars of deliciousness accompanied by a loaf of poppy seed bread were the perfect Christmas gifts for friends.
One year in an overly ambitious moment, I decided to try my hand a making pickled peaches. A peach orchard was located in nearby St. Matthews so off I went, basket in hand to pick peaches. I learned a lot in that endeavor. For pickling, the peaches come from the early crop of peaches that are small and firm. On a blistering summer day, I picked until I thought I was going to fall over. Finally, my sweat drenched self and basket of peaches got in the car and headed back home.
I should mention here that I don’t even like pickled peaches. There is something totally counter-intuitive about vinegar and peaches. But Mother had this pretty little crystal bowl that she only used for serving pickled peaches on special occasions. So nothing would do but for me to make a batch of pickled peaches for – in my mind – a table decoration.
Pickling peaches a lot of steps. After the ordeal of pickling, the skins need to come off. And that is done by the hot and steamy process of dipping the peaches in boiling water. Then you have to make this brew of sugar, vinegar, cloves and other things requiring a hot and steamy pot. The jars have to be sterilized (hot and steamy again), the jars have to be filled with peaches and hot brew, and then – (hot and steamy) – the jars have to sit in the canner until they’re fully processed and safe to set on the counter. I did every last step. And when all was said and done, I had three quarts of pickles. The exercise from start to finish took an entire day and I had three jars of peaches. That was the end of the pickling of peaches.
So this year, being presented with an armload of pickling cucumbers and, under the glare of Mike’s warning, I decided to do a little canning. Long story short, (two entire afternoons to be precise) after slicing my thumb and dripping scalding water across the back of my hand I ended up with three pints of pickles. Three pints. Lesson learned. I think I’ll retire my canning tools.
What drives us as human beings to try and try again even when we know from experience that in all likelihood, it is not going to work? In counselling training, we learn that people tend to live a script. We see it in frequently in relationships. It is not unusual for someone to start a new relationship with exactly the same kind of person that they struggled to leave. Sometimes what is known – regardless of how good or how bad – is easier than what is unknown. Part of the reason for this is that in order to “live differently we have to do things differently.” And doing things differently requires work.
We see it with glaring evidence in the way people are reacting to COVID 19. We sheltered at home, ordered groceries on-line, stayed away from crowds, picked up our meals from Meeting on Main – all for the purpose of “flattening the curve” of the spread of the virus. It worked. For a while. And once the signal was given, people began swarming without protective masks and forgetting social distancing. And look where we are now.
It is past time to rein it in. And I’m not sure how that can be done. There is little evidence of a spirit of cooperation in our country these days so there may not be a collective effort any time soon. But we can each do our own little part. I was reminded recently of the over-worked 80’s illustration of the boy walking down the beach and picking up a stranded star fish. When someone challenged him with what difference it made considering the number of stranded star fish. The boy responded, “It mattered to that one.” While this might be a little cheesy, it really does make the point that if everyone “picked up one star fish,” then what a difference could be made in our world.
I am praying and I hope you continue to pray too for the health of our world. Not just related to COVID 19 but in all our efforts that would bring us together as a people united to make this world a better place. These two passages from scripture have been twirling around in my mind this week.
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Matthew 22: 34-40: When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
I hope these words empower you to take on each new day with courage and hope.
Blessings to you all.
Members: Martha Beatty, Tommy Burton, Addie Fanning, Shirley Flynn, Ruthie Hewitt, Vivian Holliday, Mary Catherine Lindler, Andy Lott, Janice Wakefield, The Family of Bo Stillinger
Friends & Family: Debra Ardis (Ruthie’s Niece), Lewis Boice, Rhett Brown, Russell Burkhalter, Dwayne Cagle, Mary Chalker, Jeannie Chavous (co-worker of Mary K.),Glenda & Lanier Clifton ( Mary Kay’s Cousin), Shirley Collins, Jo Criss (Shirley Flynn’s Sister), Linda Dicks, Janet Fisher, Dr. Jay Jones, Janice Hatfield, (Elaine Lawrence’s Sister) Betty Knotts (Grace’s Sister), Faye McDonald, J.R. McGinnis ( Cathy Ashba’s brother), John McHenry (Mary Kay’s Nephew), Lisa Neal (Chris Dunnaway’s daughter), Pat Ratteree, Bill Ray (co-worker of Bo), Sarah Sanders ( Billy & Alice’s neighbor), Dean & Jean Sample (Kathy Beasley’s parents), John Sheppard (Diane & Johnny’s son), Lisa Simmons (Cathy Ashba’s cousin) May Smith, Linda Still, Rev. Tom Summers, Amy Suratt (Gene Thomas’s daughter), Gene Thomas, Millie Truitt, Joe Waller (Billy’s brother), The Family of Larry Holly (Mary Kay’s Boss), The Family of Glynn Higgenbotham (Marcia Burkhalter’s Uncle), The Family of Dora Everson, (Shirley Flynn’s Sister), The Family of Larry Carpenter
Local Law Enforcement, First Responders, Medical Personnel, and our Nation’s Leaders
Military: Jeff Collins, (Judy Collins McAlhany’s Grandson) Doug Duncan, (Kathy’s son) Charlie Johnson (Kathy’s Nephew), Bradley Lott, (Andy & Roxanne’s Son), Shane McAlhaney (Andy & Roxanne’s Nephew), and U.S. Military Chaplains