Give What You Can, When You Can


My back yard is devoid of grass; my gardens rarely produce (but I refuse to give up); and, my pecan tree drops hundreds of immature pecans each year.  No farmer, this man.  But my lemon trees are prolific.  I have a freezer full of lemon juice from last year’s crop of 150 lemons.  This year, I have given away about 80 full, juicy Meyer lemons and am working on giving away the final 50 or so.  I offered some to Tony who had just provided me an estimate to replace my roof thanks to Hurricane Harvey.  Midway through our conversation as we stood in the freezing air, he reminded why giving is good … no matter what or when.  We don’t always know the value of what we offer.

Recently, I have offered lemons to a guy who offered to trim my trees (he took three), and to the insurance adjuster (he took two).  Both seemed pleased to take the tasty citrus fruit.  I proudly proclaim, “Each lemon has about four ounces of juice,” like a proud farmer describing his crops.  Tony took six, but I offered him the remainder of what I had because of our conversation.

“Do you like lemons?  Want some?”  I usually don’t pause between the two questions. 

“Sure, yeah, thanks,” he replied.  He complimented the fruit as we walked to the trees, two old guys transitioning from talking business to talking life.

He said that his wife baked with lemons, and froze the juice in cubes.  I concurred.  I suggested freezing lemon zest, too.

“That would be good,” he said.  “I called my wife the other day and she said she was freezing lemon juice.  She likes to use zest and peeling in cooking, too.  She was diagnosed with cancer and we read that vitamin C is a great natural aid in battling cancer.  We add it whenever we can, and getting it from the peel and rind is supposed to be the best way.  When she was diagnosed, they said she had about five years.  They have done the bone marrow transplants and all.  She was diagnosed 12 years ago.  It has cost a fortune, so I’ll never be able to retire.  But I still have her.”

I got a chill, different than the one caused by the wind chill factor conditions of 20 degrees.  I offered him all the lemons.  We both laughed at the offer.  He declined.

We shook hands, both saying, “It was great to meet you” at the same time.  Two old guys understanding life and simple times of sharing … stories, truths and lemons.

Share. What you can, when you can.  Connect in the moment.


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