Big jugs of syrup. That's what Jennyworth Anderson had dedicated her life to. The year was 1909. Three years before the world would be changed by the discovery of horses. And seven years before Jenny's world itself would be changed by a time-traveling bachelor scientist from beyond tomorrow.

For now, though, it was syrup. Catching and carrying and moving and slopping around big buckets of maple run-off on her daddy's tree lot. It was hard work, rotating the jugs so that each got an even layer from every tree. And it was isolating work. It was well known even then that trees warm up to but one person at a time and won't bleed for no other. Jenny, having been born with no mother, had been forced to take over the sap collecting early on as her brothers had been devoured by Ohio's first governor and her Pa was kept up in a cage underneath the stairs her whole life. She took pride in the work knowing it was her alone that kept so many trees honest and made the county's pancakes edible.

The work also allowed Jennyworth the opportunity to indulge her other passion: dipping small animals head first into syrup vats. She'd only hold them under for a few seconds. Only as long as it took for them to feel terror. Then lift them up, up to her mouth, and lick them clean. Squirrels, chipmunks, turtles and skinks. Each one cleaned up nice and right, just like store bought.

Later there was a small effort to get Jenny's face on some of the currency but that didn't go anywhere.

Chris Weagel

Chris Weagel writes about the intersection of technology and parenting for Wired Magazine. No he doesn't. He can't stand that shit.

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