I bet you know this old cliché – When life gives you lemons…make lemonade.
I can recall those words plastered on rolled up posters which folks of my generation purchased and tried to unroll so we could hang them on our college dormitory room walls.
I googled the phrase to see where it originated from because, as we all know, Google seems to know everything there is to know. But I actually discovered on Quora.com that the original saying was coined by the famed speaker Dale Carnegie when he wrote “If you have a lemon, make a lemonade” in his book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
Regardless of its derivation, it’s one cliché that comes to mind when life goes awry and that certainly happens more often than not.
Life has a way of lending us lots of lemons; but instead of turning sour from unfortunate circumstances or trying times we’re dealt, this saying encourages us to turn the sour into something sweet. Or at least more palatable like lemonade.
I, for one, actually like the lemon flavor. I love lemon sorbet. I like to use lemon essential oil to keep berries fresh. I like lemonade and I also squirt juice from lemon wedges into water for a refreshing drink.
Lemon meringue pie? To die for in my book. Lemon cookies? Yummy.
The fresh, clean scent of lemon – it just exudes cleanliness to me.
But bite into a lemon? No, thank you. That makes me pucker up and crinkle my nose at its extreme tartness.
However, it’s a lemon that makes me write this post today.
At the onset of this crazy pandemic that’s held us all hostage for so long, Papa and I were out west visiting relatives. Just about every day, we enjoyed a brisk walk around the quiet Arizona neighborhood where my sister and brother-in-law live.
On our treks, we didn’t see very many folks but we encountered quite a few dogs disliking our “intrusion” in their territories and barking zealously at us, behind fences thank goodness.
Just a day or so before we were scheduled to fly back home to the East Coast, we enjoyed a cool, morning walk in abundant sunshine down a street we hadn’t ventured on before. There we encountered a gentleman strolling out of a garage onto the driveway.
He cordially called hello and began walking towards us, so we stopped and chatted with him for a while. Soon his wife joined us and we had a nice conversation with this couple, learning that they were neighbors of ours to the north – from Canada.
They shared that they visited this Arizona town every winter and rented the same house for their stay each time. But because of the pandemic threat, their vacation in sunshine became limited and cut short as they had been advised to get back home before the borders closed.
We were a bit astonished to hear that they drove all the way from Ontario every year for their winter/spring vacation. They were packed up, ready to leave, and were just biding time until the property management company they rented from opened to turn in keys, etc.
Before we bid them farewell and safety on their journey back home, the gentleman directed us to a house just down the street. The folks who owned that vacation home resided in California and every few days, they stationed a box full of California grown lemons and oranges on their driveway with a sign reading, “Free, please take as many as you want.”
We stopped and looked at the free fruit. The oranges looked so tasty, but those lemons! They were huge! Honestly, the largest lemons I think I’ve ever seen in my life. We took a few oranges and a couple of lemons, because that was all we could carry, back to my sister and brother-in-law’s home to share with them.
The oranges were just as they promised to be – sweet, juicy, and oh, so delicious. Of course, those large lemons were a different story. Tart enough to make one pucker up, that’s for sure.
We didn’t make lemonade, but we certainly could have. Instead, we just squeezed a few shots of lemon juice into our iced water. Practically instant refreshment and no added sugar.
Wouldn’t it be grand if we could really turn all the lemons of our lives into something good for us, something refreshing, something pleasant?
We can. It’s called attitude. And it’s a choice. We can either pucker up and choose to be sour and bitter. Or we can suck it up, work through our circumstances with hope and faith and choose to be sweet and pleasant.
I’ll take the latter with just a hint of lemon please.
“Nothing is so sour that it can’t be sweetened by a good attitude.” ~ Woodrow M. Kroll