When I was a little girl, I had this shirt. I guess you’d have to call it a blouse. Even if you’re not the sort of person who says “blouse” (and I’m not), that’s really what it was. I was seven – so that would make it 1979 or 1980. . . The blouse was white cotton with pearly buttons down the front and on the cuffs. And then? It had this bow? Like a tie that you tied around your neck in a bow. I know. But like I said. It was 1979. Or 1980. It was like that then. So, I loved this blouse. It was my favorite because it was fancy and frilly and beautiful.
And then I outgrew it.
My mother had to
force gently prod me to put the shirt (I just can’t keep saying blouse anymore) into the hand-me-down bag. I’m pretty sure there were tears involved. I hated to let that fancy thing go. I wanted to keep it even though I couldn’t wear it anymore. I didn’t have a lot of fancy going on in those days. . .
Now, the reason I remember that shirt is not because I loved it so much. What makes this memory so remarkable is the fact that in the very next bag of clothes we got (those would be bags of hand-me-downs, not shopping bags), the very next bag had a white cotton shirt with pearly buttons down the front and on the cuffs. And then? It had this bow? Like a tie that you tied around your neck. . .
It was identical. And it was my size.
Oh, isn’t that just a perfect ending to that story? If I wrote that as a piece of fiction it would be awful – and yet that’s exactly how it happened. And you know all of those moments when we are hoping that our children are learning something from the experiences that we strive so hard to provide? I really did learn a valuable lesson from this one, folks. I can’t promise you that I could have articulated it at the moment but to this day it has affected the depth of my generosity. It makes it easier for me to let things go. It doesn’t always happen with that kind of immediacy – or that transparency but you know you get what you give. I’ve had this very concrete example in my mind for the last thirty years or so.
You are wondering what this has to do with lemonade. I know. Are you thinking I’m going to say something about what to do when life gives you lemons? I am actually going to give you a recipe for the lemonade I made a couple of weeks ago. But first I want to share something. My intention had been to make lemonade and blog about it. And I did make the lemonade.
We were having some family for dinner and I had already purchased the lemons. I took pictures while I was making it too. The afternoon light in my kitchen is not bad.
Now, here is what got me all excited to make the lemonade in the first place.
This vintage glass citrus juicer has been in my dish closet for many years. More than ten. This batch of lemonade was the very first time I got it out and used it. I can’t tell you what a thrill I get from this kind of thing. I mean, if I had to make gallons of lemonade I might try to automate the process. But for a single batch, i found this extremely satisfying. And then? Before the night was over?
These things are a very funny shape and when my mother was washing it in the sink (i asked her not to put it in the dishwasher) it slipped out of her hands. It actually cut her hands in 3 places. . . For about two seconds I was so disappointed by the sight of the broken glass in the sink I didn’t even notice my mother gripping her fingers together. And then I just let it go. I saw that my mom needed my attention and I just thought, “It’s okay. This is not a big deal.” And of course it’s just a thing, right? But, you know, I get really attached to these old things.
EBay to the Rescue!
The new juicer is almost identical to the old one. And it’s only new to me. It’s most likely just as old as the old one.
And then I made another batch of lemonade. Because that’s what you do – when life gives you lemons. . .
Would you like the recipe now? Since this was my first attempt at homemade lemonade I don’t have much of a basis for comparison but I can tell you that I am a bit of a lemonade snob. I don’t drink it all the time because it’s just too much sugar. . . but I do so love it. I usually treat myself a few times during the summer to some Newman’s Own lemonade. But from now on, I’ll be making this recipe. I was seriously impressed with myself folks. And I know making a simple syrup sounds all Martha Stewarty and everything, but there is a reason they call it simple.
Here you go:
In a sauce pan combine 1 cup of water and 1.5 cups of granulated sugar. Heat. Cool. Store in fridge for up to one month.
See? S I M P L E . . .
Now, when life does give you some lemons, or when you pick some up at the store, strain 1 and a half cups of lemon juice to get out the pits and most of the pulp (that’s my preference) and add the simple syrup and 7 more cups of water.
If you are me, you very carefully strain out all of the pits and then throw in a bunch of lemon slices (with pits still in them) just to make it look pretty. If you are you, you would most certainly pick the pits out of your lemon slices before you throw them in!
Now, you don’t have to use a vintage juicer to make fantastic lemonade but I can tell you – the juicer is what makes this fun for me. You know I love a practical tool. And a beautiful, practical tool really floats my boat. It was only a matter of moments on EBay to find a new (old) juicer - though, among the hundreds that i looked through, there were only 2 of this pattern. I was so happy to find it.
And I’m still ready to face whatever lemons life wants to throw at me.
Do you have trouble letting things go? Have you had to replace an old family item? Do you remember getting clothes in the hand-me-down way? Is there a piece of clothing from your childhood that you remember outgrowing? Or am I the only nut-job who gets that attached to a shirt?
Do you think I’m nuts for putting together the story of my shirt when I was 7 and this vintage juicer? What can I say? This is the way my mind works! Thanks for (trying) to follow along!
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