Every summer when the air stopped moving and thunderstorms rolled through the afternoon, Mama took to the kitchen, lugging her trusty Mirro-Matic pressure cooker from the laundry room, an event as reliable as mosquitos around a standing pool of water.
Mama boiled bright red tomatoes and juicy yellow corn with okra, pouring the soup into quart jars for winters when the crickets stopped chirping and the air was still.
Mama started early and we weren’t leaving the house because this work took attention. We stared as the heavy, metal weight jiggled and the pressure built inside the pot.
Finally, Mama’s face turned red and her hands cramped as she pulled the last jar from the pot, the jars lined up on the checkered towels, boiling sentinels. We closed our eyes and listened as the jars popped, and come December, we broke that seal and added soup to a pot with ground beef, salt, pepper, and onion, slurping it down and sopping it up with cornbread.
Alicia Looper is a wife, a mom, a southerner, and a writer. She lives in Upstate South Carolina with her husband and three kids. While writing has always been important to her, it has not been until recently that she discovered the joy that putting words on the page can bring to both her and those around her. It is her desire to engage those around her through her written word.