Jennifer Frankum taught high school English, Creative Writing, Parenting, ESL, and Special Education for 29 years in a small town in Bruce County, Ontario, Canada. She has published four books, including two poetry collections– all with The Brucedale Press. In 2019 she was co-winner of the William Wilfred Campbell Poetry Contest, and in 2020 she took third place in The Southampton Hospital Foundation Creative Writing Contest.
It was not a false alarm this time. Strawberry-rhubarb jam-making had caused the ensuing infestation. It was just a matter of time before procreation caused overpopulation of the dreaded unkillable species. My jam-making obsession had been taking its toll. First, strawberry jam, then raspberry, and now strawberry-rhubarb. All that intense chopping with a sharp knife was good for the teacher’s soul. What was next? Peach conserve perhaps? I sighed. So much fruit. So little time. The summer was winding down quickly, or winding up (Which was it?) and I had only twelve jars of jam to show for it. What kind of mother was I? The kind who loved to lounge, drink coffee and read, while my four-year old daughter drew family portraits and kept one eye on Loonette and Antimacassar on the TV, and then called plaintively from the bathroom—“Come watch me”. I hesitated to tell her that toileting would not be a spectator sport when she began Junior Kindergarten in three weeks. It would be one of many life lessons she would learn. While I was looking the other way she got out the Dora Bandaids and stuck one on my foot. I had been limping badly since stepping on a three-dimensional magnetic alphabet letter (I think it was the X), that was supposed to be on the fridge. My daughter knew from whom her food and shelter came. Perhaps she had her late grandmother’s genes and was destined to become an R.N. Time would tell. On the other hand she was presently enamoured with Fancy Nancy and her outrageous get-ups, so she had proclivities to fashion designing. On both hands she had long slender fingers which would enable her to play the piano if she so desired. The future was ripe with possibilities. Ripe too were the blueberries, patient marbles in the fridge.