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Sunday, September 13, 2009


Preserving the Past



I’ve been driving now for 27 years. Yesterday though was the first time I’ve ever run out of gas! Now there was that time in the UK when I realised I wasn’t going to make it as far as the gas station (petrol in the UK of course) but my aunt drove me and a jerry can to the station and back.

Today found me accelerating up a hill and as I changed to third the hesitation was unmistakably brought on by a lack of fuel. Sure enough, a hundred meters or so later the bike was going nowhere. The fuel switch indicated I had already depleted the reserve tank. There was nothing to do but pull to the side.

Half an hour later my brother had arrived with a litre or two and I was off again but this time headed straight to the local Shell station.

Later that evening at a family bar b’que that quick cell phone call to Matthew got us all talking about just how far our ability to communicate one with another has come over the years. Less than 45 years ago some of us didn’t even have a phone. Twenty years ago we were still using a party line at Dave’s cottage. Now I don’t even have a land line; I use a cell phone for everything.

So what did we do in the past? It would have been a long walk to get gas, or at least half an hour to a pay-phone, maybe longer. Would I have been better prepared? Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten myself into the situation at all. Or maybe many years ago I’d have considered the time to walk for gas not as inconvenient as I would now?


Let’s face it, we manage our time, and expect more from it now than we ever did! We used our time for different chores. Twenty years ago, forty years ago and especially one-hundred years ago our time was used to do things that modern conveniences no longer require of us. But now we have less time!


Last week I noticed that jars of jam bought at the grocery store have expiry dates on them! They’re preserves! The reason they have expiry dates is because they’re not made with enough sugar! The manufacturers use thickening agents instead of time and sugar to make them set. Then of course some artificial form of preservative; not sugar a natural preservative.


So, what does this have to do with phones and me running out of gas? Throughout the many years you and I have been on this planet there have been many advances to our quality of life. The ones I’m thinking about right now are mostly conveniences. Some of those conveniences are great, cell phones for instance. Look at the time my cell phone saved me yesterday! But some aren’t so great; fruit preserves with expiry dates!

Why don’t we take some of the time saved due to our new conveniences and use it to do some things like we did in the past?



A dozen mason jars will run you between seven-fifty and ten bucks at Canadian Tire. Three dollars will get you a kilo of sugar and your local fruit/veg stand will supply you with enough locally grown fruit to fill those jars for less than five. A packet of gelling agent like Certo will cost you another three dollars, and if you’re patient you can eliminate this item. Four hours and twenty dollars later and you’ve got yourself twelve jars of no “best before” dated, homemade jam. Get organized with five other friends, arrange a swap date and you’ve got twelve jars of six assorted varieties of homemade preserves. Take a trip to the grocery store and those twelve jars of jellies and jams will cost you more than forty dollars!


This week I’m going to preserve an act of the past by preserving the fruits of the present. The use of my cell phone saved me two to three hours at least this Saturday. I’ll use that time later one evening to preserve for my future. I’m looking for five others that would like to join my endeavor and later this month swap preserves.


Who’s up for some preservation?


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