Saturday, January 21, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons.....

It's no big secret, although some folks seem to think I shouldn't ever admit it: I don't care for sweet tea. Yes, I am a Southerner. Yes, I love tea.....just not sweet; and I'd always rather have hot than iced if you don't mind, please and thank you.

Five of my six grandparents (I was blessed with an extra set) were immigrants from Ireland and Scotland, so that is undoubtedly why my family always enjoyed a mug of steaming hot tea rather than a tall icy cold glass. That's just how I was raised. Nothing wrong with that.

And I was also taught that sweet tea was only for when you were feeling poorly. The same rule went for sweet carbonated drinks, like cola of any sort; that was something you could have when you had a headache or a sour stomache. Ginger ale was for when you had a cold. Otherwise, beverages of that sugary ilk were considered an unnecessary indulgence.

Truth be told, I felt gravely in need of some sort of indulgence this week when things in my life were spinning wildly out of control, and there seemed nothing I could reasonably do but go along for the ride. An indulgence.....I wanted something but I just didn't know what it could be. And then it just so happened that I stopped by my neighbor's house for a chat.

My neighbor grows Meyer lemons. Great big lemons. Satisfyingly pillowy-plump and so very sweet. They are nothing like the small, hard, acidic lemons that appear for sale at the grocery. My neighbor's lemons are a thing of beauty, and I was very grateful to be given half a dozen.

The fragrance was so tangy and tempting that I could barely wait until I got back to my house with them. I couldn't be bothered to take the time to make proper sugar syrup--it seemed somehow necessary to hurry. I simply sliced a lemon in half and squeezed out all of its juicy goodness with an antique glass reamer. It produced fully 3/4 of a cup of juice that I strained into my favorite glass. I poured in sugar with great abandon and stirred them together before I topped up the glass with water. I drank all of it down in one go, barely taking time to breathe.

Fresh lemonade made from a lovely Meyer lemon that had been cut from the tree a mere fifteen minutes before. Oh my.

It tasted like nothing else on earth, and it was the very indulgence that I had needed. I have seldom had my thirst quenched so fully. No, I did not go back for a second glass; that would have been greed, and it would have been an insult to that first sweet slaking.

I am grateful for my kind neighbors who share both Meyer lemons and much unexpected kindness. I am grateful that my family taught me not to drink too many sugary things so that I can truly appreciate such when I have it. And I am grateful for change, as well.

Life is good.



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