When Life Give you Lemons...

lemon blossom
Lemon blossoms

Ruby and I picked the last of the Meyer Lemons from our tree yesterday. We wanted to retrieve them before the light freeze, which was predicted to swoop into the Hill Country overnight. I didn't want to take any chances, so I pulled the lemon and orange pots up to the house and covered them. Ruby had accused me of killing the lemon tree the year before.

We had a good crop of lemons this year. They were the opposite of supermarket lemons. They were large with soft thin skin, heavy with juice. They had a strong citrus smell under my nose. I passed them around to friends and family, who closed their eyes and smelled the aroma. It was the perfume of Italy, of sunshine, of bright yellow happiness. "Wow," came the comment.

"It's because they were picked ripe. They'll be sweet, not sour," I said.

I made a pitcher of lemonade for Ruby and a friend.

"My Dad's lemonade is Awesome. It's the best," Ruby told her friend, as they hovered around the kitchen.

When I squeezed the fruit, the kitchen filled with their pungent exclamation. The seeds lodged in the squeezer and I flicked them out. My fingers smelled of lemons the rest of the night.

I added water and syrup and stirred.

I poured Ruby a sample in her waiting glass. She squinted and cringed. She shivered. "Needs more sugar."

I added water and syrup. Stirred. Another sample.


This has been a year of lemons. Our family has endured a sour trauma. But we are resilient. We have watched our lemons grow. We have cared for them. Nurtured them. We waited patiently. And we have learned that life comes to us in this way: in soft-skinned fruit that, if cultivated poorly or neglected, overwhelms you with harsh bitterness. We have learned to let nature dictate the timing. Let the sunshine warm and ripen. We have taken the sour and coaxed it into something wonderful, to be savored, and shared with the friends who stayed with us through our long journey.

Recipe for "My Dad's Lemonade is Awesome":

Wait for the perfect moment to pick the lemons
Add the following ingredients to taste:
Water, filtered and room temperature
Simple syrup

Pour over a full glass of cracked ice.


#family #grief #mourning #children #lemon #lemonade #LemonadeRecipe #Thanksgiving #trauma #inspiration #optimism


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