They say that smell triggers that strongest memories. Well, every time I open a bottle of maple syrup and the delicious sweet smell hits my nose, I think of my Grandpa. You see that smell reminds me of opening up the doors to the old sugar house. The steam from boiling and that delicious smell would hit you and then Grandpa would tell you to shut the door because you were letting all the heat out, lol. You see when it was sugar season Grandpa was always at the sugar house. He would be gathering sap, imagine a man on snow shoes carrying two 5 gallon buckets full of sap, or cleaning buckets, or just doing one of the hundred other tasks that needed to be done.
During the service my brother (Brandon) shared a story about collecting sap with Grandpa when he was 8 or 9. Sap is collected in large tanks and then brought to the sugar house for boiling. My Grandpa, Brandon, and one of my cousins were out collecting sap and there was a problem with one of the valves on the tank. (Imagine you have a big Gatorade drink container and the little spot won't stop leaking) Before they could get the leaking to stop they had lost almost 400 gallons of sap. Since Grandpa valued hard work, my brother tried to impress him by saying that now they would need to work twice as hard to make up for the lost sap. At the funeral my brother said, he will never forget when Grandpa told him that "We can never get back what is lost no matter how hard we work."
My Grandpa was full of life lessons like that, so as we approach the holidays we would like to encourage everyone to take a day, an afternoon, or even an hour to spend time your family, your friends, your pet, anyone and everyone who is special in your life.
While Grandma Z's might be named after Grandma Zehr, selling maple syrup will always remind me of my Grandpa Zehr.