Saturday, July 9, 2011


Trapped at the Cannery! 

A few years ago my family went on a cruise. It was the first cruise we'd ever been on, and honestly it probably will be the last. Cruising, it turns out, is not really my thing, or Rich's. We found it to be a lot like Las Vegas on the water, and we're not really Las Vegas people. In fact the last three times I've been to Vegas we stopped only for gas, just passing through on our way somewhere else. People would call me crazy. They have. Oh well. I just don't like Vegas. It's a free country, right?

Another aspect of the cruise that I remember is the swaying, the movement of the waves,  and the way I kept feeling that swaying, slightly dizzy feeling for several days, maybe weeks, after the cruise was ended and we were securely back on land. I guess I never got my sea legs — or maybe I got them and couldn't get rid of them!

So... what does going on a cruise have to do with the title of this post? Well, I will tell you. Our church has a small and charming, slightly antiquated commercial cannery down in the industrial part of Sacramento. There they can tomatoes (whole, crushed, sauce, ketchup, salsa, you name it — they don't call it Sacra-Tomato for nothing!), local fruits of all kinds, and other things as well. It's a great facility, actually. Some of what is canned at the cannery is made available for sale to the church members, but most of it is given to the poor and the needy.

So, last night Rich and I joined a crew of about 50 other volunteers at the Sacramento Cannery and canned Apricots. Lots and lots and lots of Apricots. Lots. Of. Apricots. It was pretty fun for about an hour, then it was just exhausting for the rest of the night. Rich and I were stationed at the business end of a long conveyor belt of apricots. As the little golden fruits and thousands of their apricot buddies were magically deposited onto the conveyor belt, twenty or so people on each side of said conveyor belt would slice, pit, and clean the apricots. Eventually they made their way to us, where we were their last chance to get cleaned, de-pitted and beautified before they passed under one final spray of water, then dropped off the belt and onto a ladder-type conveyance that delivered them to the canning area. After being deposited into the cans, they were topped with just the right amount of sugar syrup, the lids went on and it was into the giant boiler to be sealed, then over to the drying and labeling area. It's quite an operation!

Anyhoo, back to the cruise-apricot connection. Several times through the evening last night, as I focused my eyes on the never-ending flow of apricots on the conveyor belt, it started to feel like I was moving and the apricots were standing still. It made me dizzy and just a little queazy, I felt just like I did while aboard the Carnival Elation as she made her way from San Diego to Cabo. But the good thing was that at the cannery I could look away, take a few deep breaths, and I was fine. But I have to say I'm not in the mood to eat apricots anytime soon!

That's my story. Hope you all are also having an exciting weekend! And PS - happy birthday to Phil! Cupcakes are coming to you tomorrow...

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."  —Gandhi