Raspberry Jam

Raspberry Jam

The house was filled with the delicious odors of raspberries, blackberries, and gooseberries cooking on the stove. John's mother had made all kinds of delicious jams. Then she had put them in shiny jelly glasses and arranged them on the pantry shelves, high up where they glistened in rows of red, black, and green.

John's and Mary's mother was very proud of her jams and jellies. As the children watched her store the pretty glass jars of jam on the pantry shelves, she said, "I am so glad we have a good supply of these luscious jellies, and I am counting on you children not to touch them until I am ready to use them. You see, I am saving the jam for Thanksgiving and Christmas." John could not help but feel his mouth water as he looked at the rows of luscious jam jars, but he swallowed hard.

After his mother left the house, however, John kept thinking about the jam. He liked raspberry jam best of all. He thought that he could climb up on a chair and take just a little bit of jam out of one of the jars and his mother would never know. When he thought his sister was upstairs, he climbed up on a chair in the pantry, but when he got hold of the jam jar, he slipped and the glass fell to the floor and broke into many gooey pieces.

John swept the broken bits of glass into the dustpan the best he could in his hurried fright. He took a paper towel and mopped up the jam from the floor. Then he threw everything into the trash can and put the cover on.

Most unfortunately, as he was cleaning up the jam, his sister Mary appeared in the doorway of the pantry, exclaiming, "Oooh, Mother won't like this, and you will be sorry!"

Of course, as a matter of fact, when his mother came back, she didn't know what had happened, but his sister Mary did know, for she had seen the accident. Everything was serene and she said, "Mary, will you please bring my loafers from my upstairs bedroom?"

"You go, John, and get Mother's loafers," demanded Mary.

"Mother asked you," John retorted.

Then John saw by his sister's eyes that she was signaling him this message! "You know what I know that Mother doesn't know about you."

Quick as a flash, John said, "Never mind, I'll go get the loafers." Mary held her head high in triumph like the young tyrant that she was.

It was about two hours later that their mother said suddenly, "Oh, Mary dear, I am expecting company for dinner tonight. Will you please get the dust cloth and dust the living room for me?"

As it happened, at that moment Mary's head was buried deep in a book she was reading. She quietly lifted her eyes and said to her brother, "John, will you please dust the living room for Mother? I don't want to stop reading my book, for I am at the most interesting part."

John, who hated doing a girl's work, said, "No, I won't. Dusting isn't my job."

Mary fixed her sharp eyes on her brother. They were plainly signaling to him, "You'd better do what I say, because you know what I know that Mother doesn't know about you."

So, with a look of scorn and disgust, John got the dust cloth and dusted the living room. All the time he was dusting, Mary lolled back in the easy chair, reading her book to her heart's content.

Just before dinner Mother said, "Oh, dear, where's the confectioner's sugar? Here I am, ready to frost this cake, and I'm all out of it. Mary, please run to the corner grocery store before it closes and buy me a box of confectioner's sugar."

Without even getting out of the chair, Mary called, "John, John, please go to the store for Mother and get her a box of confectioner's sugar."

John retorted, "Mother didn't ask me to go; she asked you."

This time Mary spoke aloud. "You'd better go and do this for me, John, because you know what I know that somebody doesn't know."

Like a whipped puppy, John had to obey his bossy sister. He was getting mighty tired of letting Mary boss him around just because she knew about his disobedience and the hush-hush accident with the jam.

When John was getting ready for bed that night, something happened that his sister Mary didn't know about. Because John had been so unhappy all day, he went into his mother's room and frankly confessed to her about the broken jar of jam. Of course, John's mother told him she was glad that he had told the truth. She could see that he was sorry and unhappy about the whole thing, and had probably learned his lesson, so she forgave him with a good, big kiss.

The next morning Mary was as haughty as the day before. She had big plans to make John do all her work and run all her errands.

Later that morning, when Mother said, "Mary, will you please come and help me with the dishes?" Mary immediately turned to John and said, "I am tired. I don't like to do the dishes. John, you help Mother with the dishes."

Imagine how surprised and shocked Mary was when John said, "No, I will not!"

Then Mary blazed at him, "You'd better do the dishes, for if you don't, I will tell Mother what I know about you."

John only smiled at Mary. "I have already told her," he said. "She knows all about it and has forgiven me. You can't boss me around anymore!"

It was then that John really understood for the first time how true was the memory verse from last Sunday's Sunday school lesson: "Blessed [happy) is he whose transgression [sin) is forgiven" (Psalm 32:1).

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