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January 23, 2023

Classic Lemonade

By Bernie Pilarski

There are things you learn as you go through life. Sometimes these things are big, and sometimes these things are small. There are a lot of people who are currently learning, for example, whether or not they really do have the stomach to make (and lose and make and lose) their fortune (read as "401K retirement monies") by investing in the stock market. Then again, you may find out that the goldfish in the pond in the front yard had babies, a sign that the little ecosystem you've been trying to establish is taking hold.

Having grown up in Pennsylvania where there are no citrus trees, in an urban environment detached from the natural cycles of plantings and harvests, I had always thought of lemons as a summer fruit. I also believed that "cows" and "bulls" were two different species. There were, I thought, male cows and female cows, male bulls and female bulls. Lemons were a summer fruit because fruit became ripe in summer. Apples did. I knew this because there was an apple tree in our neighborhood, and the little green apples appeared in the spring and grew red enough to eat before I went back to school in the fall.

Besides, lemons were used to make lemonade, and lemonade was a summer drink, served icy cold from the glass pitcher that dripped with the condensation from the humid August air.

I've lived in California now for twenty some years, and for most of that time I've had a lemon tree in the yard. In that time I have learned that I have a moderate tolerance for stock market gyrations, that I like living in California better than living in Pennsylvania, and that citrus in general and lemons specifically are winter fruits.

If you want a good glass of lemonade, wait till December before you pick your lemons. Use one lemon per glass. Sweeten to taste. I like my lemonade sweet, so I use two heaping teaspoons of sugar in a tall glass. Stir, add ice, and there you have it -- a spectacular, icy cold winter treat.

I realize this may not be earth shaking news for most you. You probably knew that cows and bulls were the same species. You probably knew lemons were a winter fruit. It's just one of those things that took me a while to figure out.

Maybe this winter, we're on the edge of the precipice, economically speaking, and some of us might have to learn what it's like to go broke. Maybe, hopefully, it will all get better soon enough. In the meantime, I've got a tall cold glass of lemonade. In the middle of winter. Imagine that. Live and learn.

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Article © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2009-01-12
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