Notes from Jan

Simple Stuff

December 9, 2015

J-E-L-L-O!  I know, I’m old but sometimes I miss jello.  True, I could go to the nearest nursing home or  check-in to the hospital to  get my tonsils removed, either place would give it to me twice a day in red, green, orange or yellow.  Or I could move to the Midwest, where jello  still shows up unashamed.

It’s not the jello so much as what went with it.  I  miss Sunday dinners. I miss Sundays when everything shut down.  Cars and folks stayed home or went to church, not malls. Simple stuff.  A time without  sports, which I probably wouldn’t have said if the Patriot’s hadn’t lost their last two games, pressing me to say and do things I’ll have to repent of sooner than next Sunday.

Cracker Barrel brought back the memory in early November when they seated me next to a wall where an old ad for Jello(2 for 25 cents) hung as a framed reminder of  that colorful stuff that transformed a table when cut into squares and slid onto  a leaf of iceberg lettuce.  A head of lettuce,  something else that’s lost among arugula, endive, spinach and kale.  I know the greener the veggie the healthier but every once in a while…

Truthfully, I never liked it plain unless Mama folded in whipped cream and transformed red jello into a pink dessert called Bavarian something or other . If jello came with fruit cocktail, I hoped a cherry showed up in mine. Most of the best  recipes added nuts, fruit, whipped cream or cream cheese.  As I write, I see faces connected to the recipes, reminders of gatherings with family, friends or feasts at  church potlucks where the best cooks showed-off, in a humble sort of way.  “Oh, it’s nothing, really. Simple.” My recipe box is like a smudged photo album, a collection of memories of simpler times when going out to eat meant going to somebody’s house or to church.

Does it matter? Not the jello, really, but Sunday does.  All those Sunday dinners preceded by Sunday School and church, helped fortify Jud and me to walk through dark days together and remember that some how the Light would come.    Every morning Jud checked off his choices on the menu sheet at MGH for lunch, dinner and breakfast for the following morning.  He often chose jello. It soothed when his lips were swollen and  his throat riddled with sores. Maybe it reminded him of Sunday dinners and sent healing to  places where soul and spirit rest, ready to do battle to strengthen faith’s immune system, so easily compromised by a virulent virus called fear.

Jello’s no cure-all and now we know that all that coloring and sugar’s not so good for us.  But there are worse things, like forgetting to be grateful for simple stuff  or treating Sunday like it’s just another day.











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  • Reply Rita December 9, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Just don’t EVER stop writing, dearest Jan!!!

  • Reply Carol Taylor December 9, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    We still have jello. ( but then, we are in the Midwest!) I love reading your thoughts Jan.

  • Reply Wendy Lane December 9, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Oh Lord I pray this beautiful post encourages someone to get back into a local church every week! It’s beyond valuable!! (and I don’t even like jello) 🙂 Haha!

  • Reply Helen Nyquist December 9, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I cannot subscribe to your notes. The system won’t let me in. My email is I have tried many times and don’t know why
    there should be a problem.

    Any advice is welcome. Thank you.
    Helen Nyquist.

  • Reply Jim Trent December 10, 2015 at 1:00 am

    What a flood of memories – jello, Sunday dinners, and Wednesday night dinners at church. Thank you Jan.

  • Reply Marty Lefever December 10, 2015 at 1:53 am

    I’m smiling . . . went to the grocery store today to buy JELLO (red) to make a molded salad for our small group Christmas gathering . . . special request from the “over 70” members! “I can do that,” I said! Once again, you have spoken to my heart, my dear sweet friend!! I love you……

  • Reply Shirley Dubeau December 10, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Dear Jan,
    Thanks for your memories and for letting me tag along in your continuing journey!

    Just want to wish you a blessed Advent & Christmas season & to let you know I’m out here in cyberspace with you, continuing to lift you up.

    Happy Christmas,

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