Friday, June 24, 2005

The Real Thing

Flowers of the artificial variety filled my mother's window box at the townhouse where my parents lived. It was Mom's attempt to make things pretty. I didn't want to hurt her fellings by telling her what I really thought.

Later my parents lived in a little white house with planter boxes and white pots. Flowers of the fake species showed up once again.

Then one year in late March when my husband and I were in Missouri to visit my parents, my mom asked me what REAL flowers would look good on her porch. I was surprised by her question. I stopped to think a moment. The porch faces East. Morning sun. Afternoon shade. The house is white so any color would look great.

So we talked of geraniums, white alyssum, blue or purple lobelia, yellow marigolds, petunias, etc. My dad was listening to the conversation. He handed me a piece of paper and asked me to write down what we had talked about so they wouldn't forget.

Near the end of April, I called to talk to my mom on the phone. I could hear the excitement in her voice as she told me about the flowers in the planters and pots on her porch. My dad had planted them for her. "It's what I have always wanted!" she exclaimed.

Two or three weeks later, my mother suddenly passed away. When I pulled up in front of her house, I saw her beautiful, vibrant flowers and thought, "She finally got the real thing, but she didn't get to enjoy it for long."

It seemed sad that she hadn't asked sooner. If I had known that she wanted live flowers, I would have done my best to see that she had received her wish. She hadn't asked. I hadn't offered.

Most of us, given the choice, would much prefer the authentic to the imitation--the genuine to the phony. Live flowers. A genuine diamond. Pure vanilla. Real butter and maple syrup. Natural wood. And when is comes to cash, no counterfeit bills for me! But more than all of these, I want genuine relationships without pretense and an authentic faith that weathers life's storms. As often as possible, keep it REAL. (That is except for my artificial Christmas tree! I hate to vacuum up those pesky pine needles.)

Today I will share my recipe for REAL lemonade. With summer upon us, it is great for hot afternoons and evenings. It can be made ahead and mixed by the glass. If you don't have the time to make this recipe, then try Santa Cruz Organic Sparkling Lemonade. Yummy! I buy it at Costco and Vitamin Cottage.

Fresh Lemonade

Place 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water into a saucepan. Add the rinds of three lemons cut into strips. (Save the juice!) Boil for five minutes. Cool. Remove rinds with a slotted spoon. (If left in the rinds will make the mix bitter.) Add the juice of 8 lemons (total). This is approximately 2 cups. Strain if desired. Store in covered container in refrigerator. Use2-3 Tablespoons per glass of ice and water or carbonated water. Adjust the strength to suit your taste. Option: you can also boil just the sugar and water. Store it in the frig. Then squeeze a lemon each time you want to make a couple of glasses. Happy Summer!


Anonymous said...

A good reminder about the importance of the real things in life. paula

Anonymous said...

Only real will do! Thanks for sharing this story.

Alice said...

How lovely that your mother did get to experience one of God's loveliest creations - real flowers. Sad that it wasn't for long but I'm sure they made her very happy.