This Thing

There’s this thing. This thing that happens in our house with grape jelly. Between the time I have it last and the next time my wife wants it, it gets stolen. I swear.

Now, I don’t particularly care for grape jelly and my wife doesn’t particularly care for any other kind of jelly. Or jam. So, I buy grape jelly first since it’s something we’ll both eat. I use it to make a PB&J sandwich to take to work a few times a month; my wife uses it less than that. When it gets low, I buy “the good kind” – strawberry jam – and leave the rest for her, hoping to prolong the time before I have to spend another $2.79. I don’t touch it again. I swear.

The day arrives that she gets a hankerin’ for it. I’ll be minding my own business and casually walk through the house to see her standing with the fridge door open.

“Did you eat all the jelly again?”

“There’s some left.” I’ll snip, feeling like something between a startled rabbit and a mad cat.

“That’s barely even enough.”

“I’m sorry hun. I’ll get some more the next time I go to the store, ok?” I’ll say apologetically with my best sad panda expression.

Then we both go on about our lives. The same scenario will play out with ice cream or salad dressing or pickles or peanut butter.

A few months ago, we were at a friend’s house learning about harvesting sweetgrass to use for smudging. While taking a break to stretch, I noticed this odd orange metal thing hanging in his yard. I asked him about it.

“It’s an Oriole feeder.” he said.

“A what!?”

“An Oriole feeder.” he repeated.

“No way!”

I know my eyes got wide and a squirrely grin sprinted across my face. All my life I’ve marveled at their striking color and wished that I could see one in real life. I’ve figured I wouldn’t since I live several states away from Baltimore.

He went on to explain that they migrate through Iowa every year. (Ohhhh). I inquired what kind of food he puts in the feeder and he tells me oranges, mealworms and grape jelly.

“ ‘Scuse me?  Grape jelly?”

“Yep, their favorite.” he tells me.

I stood there all silly and grinny looking out the window thinking how cool it was and how lucky he was. I studied the simple design of the feeder and figured I could make something similar. As we went back to braiding sweetgrass, I filed the project in the mental folder marked “Probably Never”. I can be reasonable about some things.

Months passed, and I didn’t think of it much, other than the occasional wimpy wish that we had one. But money’s tight and blah, blah, blah, go the usual excuses. Then recently, I was buying bird seed at my favorite home improvement store. As luck would have it, while browsing their clearance shelves of feeders I found one! $5.69! Can you say #savedbigmoney?

Excitedly I went from there to Wal-Mart, bought our food, an orange and a quart of grape jelly (for only $1.77!)

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I’ve set up the feeder and the anticipatory waiting has begun. I know it’s a long shot that we will see one this first year, but I am hanging on to hope as if it were a deep-fried Twinkie at the state fair. My heart would be so blessed to have them as regular visitors, helping me stay in tune with the changing of seasons year after year.

And, my wife would always have grape jelly.

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