A glass of peach tea

The last few days it has been almost impossible to focus and accomplish any work since the Bay Area has had its fog bank disappear, resulting in temperatures reaching the century mark and more. I for one do not tolerate such heat, especially when the thermometer reads only a few degrees less inside the house than what it is outside in the shade and at 102° degrees Fahrenheit (38.889° C), I am useless and so is the laptop.

I had been trying to write the next installment, part three of distressing multiple layers of newsprint on a canvas to create a surface to paint on, when I looked at my glass of ice tea and the chilled bottle, realizing here was a wonderful distraction on the ‘simple pleasures’ in life.

Earlier this year I had purchased a bottle of Lorina lemonade from France because I wanted to recapture the pleasures of my childhood. Having grown up after the war, I still can, but vaguely, remember seeing the bombed out buildings and how precious certain foods were, like bananas, oranges, and strawberries, so even a bottle of flavored soda water was considered a luxury. Just as much a luxury as a small bag of lemon drops, which were carefully weighed by the merchant before he would reach over the counter, and hand me the bag.

There was no allowance, not until a few years later when I received a nickel for taking out the garbage. But those days, living in Hamburg, a city having suffered severe bombings, we were fortunate to live in a flat shared with another family and though we only had one room, it was ours. The only other memories I have of this time were the arguments my mother had with the proprietor, as to when she could use the kitchen or the bathroom. Never the less I tried my best to behave and do all my chores without much of a reminder, knowing that at the end of the week I would receive a reward.

Memory is a fickle thing. As one grows older, the mind becomes capricious and indecisive, resulting in gaps between events and chronology begins to blend its own reality, and we begin to believe this to be the unequivocal truth. Yet I recall specifically the lemonade coming in a shape of a wine bottle, having a ceramic bottle cap, which was connected to a metal mechanism that applies pressure so that the orange rubber at the end of the ceramic nipple creates a secure seal. So when I had that glass of Lorina lemonade several months ago, I not only relived a memory, I restored a sense of my past with the presence.

Though the taste of the lemonade brought back an experience, it is the bottle with its mechanical ceramic cap that has, like a long lost friend returned to become part of my life, to the point that I now have eight such bottles. Not sitting around in idleness or being used as decoration, rather employed to store and chill my peach tea.

Now this simple pleasure of the bottle and pouring the tea into a reused marmalade glass jar engages my mind to wonder and reminisce, reconnecting not only with the past but also with the old country. In many ways I feel fortunate being able to enjoy this singular pleasure, as plastic bottle with an aluminum screw on cap just does not have the same romantic qualities as this glass bottle embodies.


Ian Foster

A lovely piece of nostalgic writing, it is indeed astonishing how such insignificant objects or incidents can evoke such strong memories and emotions.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

This is like reaching back to the past in acknowledgment, stroking a memory and saying yes, that is what was and I value that.

I grew up around immigrants, so the phrase “the old county” brought back poignant memories for me, in a Swedish accent.

Truly enjoyable reading. Thank you.

yvonne said...

A lovely post. I will have to explore more of your blog.