What a Jam

Story Sent in by Wendell:

I was doing volunteer community education work at a civic center when I met Tracy. She was another volunteer, a bit younger than I was, but I liked her personality. It was good to have her around to help me teach the after-school kids.

One day, the center manager announced that we were going to have a bake sale fundraiser. I had done one such bake sale prior at the center, and they were always a good time. Everyone from students to teachers to staff were encouraged to bring in whatever they wanted. I planned to make my specialty: fruit jams and preserves.

"I was going to make preserves, too!" Tracy told me.

I invited her over to my place for that Saturday, as that's when I was planning to make them. I told her to bring over whatever kind of fruit she wanted, and then we'd start on it, then maybe go out to lunch, dinner, or watch a movie.

That Saturday, I had everything of my own ready to begin. When Tracy arrived, I was puzzled to discover that she had brought nothing with her. No fruit, no pectin, no anything.

"I thought I could just watch you make them," she said.

Watch me she did, and once I was done, we ended up on the couch, putting a movie on and making out.

When she left, she said, "I'll make my preserves tomorrow. We should have a contest to see whose are better!"

"You're on," I told her.

The day of the bake sale came, and I brought a dozen jars into the little gymnasium where the sale tables were being set up. Tracy arrived with her concoction in a single, plastic, two-liter soda bottle. For lack of a better description, it looked like tightly-packed mud.

She set herself up next to me with a big smile and said, "You'll try some, of course."

Of course, I didn't want to, but I said, "Let's see how it sells."

Over the course of the day, I sold 10 out of my 12 jars of preserves. Tracy didn't sell any of her bottle. As the day wore on, in fact, she became a bit desperate, shouting, "Grade A preserves, right here!" and pointing to her bottle. Even later, she became combative and shouted to passersby, "Homemade preserves! Better than this junk!" with a finger pointed in my direction.

People hurried by her, and she clearly became more and more upset. At the end of the sale, the manager stepped out in front of the vendors and said, "We're almost done, folks. Drop your prices if you want to."

I did, hoping to sell my last two jars. Tracy shouted, "Free! Free preserves! Right here!"

No one took her questionable concoction off of her hands, and when the manager finally closed the doors and thanked us all, Tracy was fuming.

In the middle of the manager's thank-you speech, she interrupted him, "I didn't sell any of my preserves."

He replied, "That's okay. We were glad to have you here, all the same."

Tracy pointed at me and said, "It's all his fault! He distracted me while we made them on our date! He didn't want me to win!"

All eyes were on me, and at once I felt flushed. Before I could reply, the manager said, "We're still glad you made it. Why don't you all give yourselves a big hand?"

We applauded, all except for Tracy. She stormed over to my remaining preserves and stared them down, then grabbed her bottle of whatever-it-was and slammed it down on the gym floor, right at the manager's feet.

It exploded. The manager shouted and jumped back. Tracy screamed and pointed at me. "It's his fault! His fault! I want a rematch!" and then she ran out of the gym, slamming the doors as she went.

The manager approached me afterward to ask about my relationship with Tracy. I told him the same story I just told you. She never returned to the center after that, but I did just receive an email from her, one in which she wrote that she wanted to see me again. The bake sale was in fall 2008. I didn't reply, but it did inspire me to write the story down.


  1. Oh please, please see her again. She is ABCotD gold.

  2. What if she throws jam jars at him?

  3. Dammit!! I wanted to know what she had made her "jam" out of!

  4. It seems that her jam was truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous. Woah-ah-oh, jam.

  5. "She stormed over to my remaining preserves and stared them down, then grabbed her bottle of whatever-it-was and slammed it down on the gym floor, right at the manager's feet."

    We almost had a case of ... wait for it ... toe jam.

  6. ^ Andrew Lenahan

    Jam, the taste is contagious(outrageous). Jam is the name, nothing else is the same, jam is the name. Jam!

  7. This sentence bugged me.

    "I had done one such bake sale prior at the center, and they were always a good time. "

    You did one, but they were ALWAYS a good time? Yeah I know I'm going a bit overboard by focusing on this one sentence, but it just bugs me.

  8. ^ Maybe he was talking about bake sales in general rather than just ones at the center. If so, the sentence is poorly written.

  9. ^That's how it came in. I take it to mean that he had worked at one before, but had attended others. FOOL.

  10. I made Jared say FOOL. I'm so happy.

  11. ^i really don't see how you did anything. Gnomey threw the barb in.


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