Actually, life gave us quite a lot of lemons initially this year, and Satsuma oranges, too. It’s how they wound up being distributed that is, I think, noteworthy.
Maybe I shouldn’t bitch. I still have a couple dozen “ice cubes” of lemon juice in the freezer from last year’s crop – lemon zest, too. I have the biggest canning jar you’ve ever seen, crammed full of lemons preserved in salt, the peel from which will add zinging flavor to many salads, stews and soups to come.
We’ve been eating Satsumas since Thanksgiving, and this year they were juicy and sweet.
Really, both trees have finally hit their stride, and provided dozens, maybe even hundreds of fruit. So I used as much as I could, then started giving the fruit away – baskets to the neighbors, bags to relatives. Bags to people who came to the door.
First, two women from somewhere in the neighborhood, one asking in broken English if those were my oranges. Yes. “Would it be all right if I picked one?” she asked. No, I told her, you have to take several, and some for your friend. “What kind of oranges are those?” she asked, pointing to the lemons. “Those are lemons, would you like some of those, too?” “Could I,” she asked. “Sure,” I said, leave some for me, but take some.” “Can I come back sometime and pick the ones that are touching the ground?” she asked. “Otherwise they might go bad.”
Two days later, a man identifying himself as the first woman’s husband asked for some oranges “for him,” gesturing to an older gentleman who spoke only Spanish. And some lemons, too? “OK,” I said, “go ahead, but leave some for me.”
The next day, two more men were at the door. They had heard about the free oranges and lemons and wanted in on the action. “I used to mow your neighbor’s lawn when that other lady lived there,” one of the men told me. “Can I come back another time for some lemons?” Yes, I was still saying yes to everything. I glanced out the window to see him and his partner filling too plastic shopping bags full of Satsumas, then another with lemons.
Then the lawn mower came back and asked for lemons the following day. Yes, yes, OK.
Did I forget to say “leave me some”? Maybe word got around that it was open season on our trees. I took a day trip to the farm to put up a cable dog run for Boo the wonder pup, came home tired, went to bed early. The next morning, upon pulling out of the driveway to take the kids to school, I noticed the lemon and orange trees had been stripped bare. Despite all the recent pickings, there had been at least 100 lemons still on the tree, and probably almost that many Satsumas.
Kinda pissed me off and took some of the bloom off of my Christmas spirit.
I’m trying to get over it. Maybe one of the folks who stopped by earlier believed they’d been given permission to come back for more, pounded on the door, determined I wasn’t home and figured I wouldn’t mind if they helped themselves, since obviously I was just giving the fruit away anyhow. (And mostly, I was, although Meyer lemons reach their peak of flavor in January, and my intention was to let plenty of them ripen up on their own out there.) Maybe whoever hauled off all that citrus gave most of it away to their extended family and neighbors, and didn’t put it up for sale along the roadside.
Maybe the Universe saw that we had more of a thing than we could use ourselves, and the Universe saw some others with less, and did what the Universe does by balancing things out.
Maybe, but I have to confess it still kinda pisses me off.