August 29, 2017


When I served in the Legislature, I had a friend that used idioms to often explain things. Now for those of you who don’t know what an idiom is, don’t feel bad. I had to ask Shirley.
He would often say things like, “I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer” or “I’m not the brightest bulb in the closet.” Sometimes he would get a little mixed up as many legislators do. He may have said, “I’m not the sharpest knife in the closet.” But we always knew what he meant.
What brought this thought on this morning is something I learned a couple days ago.
I’m really kind of a homebody. Last winter all I wanted for Christmas was a pressure canner. I could remember 60 years ago, going to Grandma’s and eating canned meat. I loved it.
I asked Shirley for a pressure canner. She had grown up canning meat and refused to buy me one. Something about danger, food poisoning, explosions, messes…it went on and on. She didn’t buy me one.
So I bought her one for her birthday! Problem solved.
Over the winter I canned chicken, pork, salmon, and beef. I enjoyed doing it.
The other day I decided I wanted to can a whole chicken. I googled it and it said to put the chicken in quart jars. Seemed simple enough.
Have you ever looked at the size of a nice fat Tyson chicken? Have you ever looked at the top of a quart jar? You see where I am going.
But I wanted to do this. I went to the meat counter and looked at all the chickens. I went to the canning aisle and looked at all the jars. I figured if I bought a real skinny rooster, which I couldn’t find, I could possibly use a hammer and pound that chicken in.
I was lucky. There was a lady there buying lids for her canning jars. You could see she was a professional canner. There was no standing around staring blankly at all the stuff like I do. She just grabbed what she needed.
I approached her and tapped her on the shoulder. She was a little alarmed when a big fat stranger approached her, but she withheld the mace and asked what I needed.
I asked her, “Have you ever canned a whole chicken?”
She replied that she had, but not for several years because you could buy it already canned. She doesn’t understand.
When she confirmed that she had canned whole chickens years ago I asked her the obvious question. “How do you get a whole chicken in those little quart jars?”
She looked at me with a hint of sympathy in her eyes. “Well, you do have to cut them up.”
I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer.