Jean Croker Petke



Several lifetimes ago, when my children were young, our neighbors had apple trees, loaded with what we called Early June Apples, which ripen sometime in July. The apples fell from the trees and littered the summer ground. Children  could be, and often were, persuaded by various motherhood tricks to gather the good apples.

The mothers turned the apples into applesauce. Our freezers were filled with cartons of golden awesomeness. The applesauce was loved by the children and was a mealtime staple.

My children are now in their forties and I just finished making their childhood applesauce. I had nearly given up my search for apples last week when a friend suggested I try one more place. I walked into that local market, saw baskets of green apples and felt like I had struck gold. I didn’t even care what they cost (which was a far cry from the freebies of years ago). I came home with three bushel baskets.

The applesauce making began at 4:00 on a Wednesday afternoon. The production line was  established: wash apples in the sink, quarter the apples, put apples in stock pot with 1″ of water, cook til mushy, run through the colander, sweeten to taste, ladle into cartons. At 7:00, production was finished. A year’s supply of applesauce was in the fridge, ready for exportation to son’s house in Kentucky later in the week. He will do the freezing. No expense or distance deters us from this important task.


Here are my questions: What are you willing to do to provide familiar comfort to someone else? When have you provided such comfort for another person? How do you know what will touch their deep happy spot that says, “Ah, yes, this is exactly the right thing”?

I’m not suggesting that such comfort items require great sums of money or extensive labor or travel or any other sometimes impossible things for us. It’s the simple matter of knowing what will bring comfort or joy or fond memories to another person. Things like

sending a note recounting the times you’ve shared

calling a friend, just to stay in touch

sharing family photos of fun times past

listening to another’s stories

filling a bag of beach goodies for the friend who can’t make the trip this year

making an extra casserole, because it’s the favorite of someone you know

giving two fresh juicy peaches to your peach loving neighbor

writing a poem, or thoughtful words, about growing for your gardening friend

Knowing what brings us joy and comfort, knowing what restores our soul and our faith in humanity, and providing such moments for another are what helps us thrive in our world.

For me, comforts are

one-on-one time with a friend


almond pastries

pictures of the Oregon Coast (if I can’t be there)

classical music, especially live piano performances

mountains and raging rivers in the same place

a road trip

What is it that restores you, that brings comfort to you from your early days? And what are such things for the people you love, your friends, and perhaps someone you’ve barely met?

To what lengths are you willing to go to create such a comfort moment for another?

Until next Tuesday . . .


3 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Susan Riggs -

    I just finished making applesauce from June apples! I helped my mother make it as a child, made it with my children, and now with my grandchildren. Your story of making applesauce really gave me comfort because it brought back such wonderful memories. Thank you so much for telling this story, and helping me to have a memory-filled morning. (I have started making applesauce by cooking the apples in the microwave. It’s much faster this way.)

  • Comments are closed.