Gardening Magazine

One Special Lemon

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

Five or so years ago my wife gave me a Meyer Lemon tree for Christmas. I still vividly remember the chilly December evening when the four of us were enjoying dinner out and the kids were all giggly and whispering and daring me to guess what Mommy got me for Christmas. I eventually coaxed it out of them and we agreed I would plant it later the next day, a week or two before December 25th. That night was one of those randomly awesome family times when the stars are aligned and you want time to freeze so the kids don't age another day. Those nights mean more to me than any holiday or vacation.
Since that time, the tree has been brought indoors each autumn where it pouts and drops a bunch of leaves only to rebound when it makes its way back outdoors the following spring. I would get plenty of fragrant flowers along the way, but never an actual lemon ...  
... until late last summer, when I finally discovered an actual lemon hanging precariously off of a bare branch:
One special lemon
The tree itself had seen better days, but the little lemon was enough to keep me inspired heading into the winter:
One special lemon
Once the tree made its way inside the house, I placed it in its usual southern exposure in my kitchen:
One special lemon
Except now that we had an actual fruit present, it was time to get serious. I had a family counting on me to provide for them. If this fruit were to not come to ... fruition ... I may never gain back their faith in me. These are the times when real men step up and deliver. So I purchased a grow light and fertilized the tree for the first time while it was indoors. Soon enough, the lemon started to mature:
One special lemon
 And new growth appeared all over the tree:
One special lemon
My only fear now, was that the lemon would fall off of the tiny branch and we would be screwed.
But this was a special lemon and she wasn't going to be denied. By the time we hit May/June, the lemon looked like a ... lemon ... and I knew we were in the clear:  
One special lemon
Now the challenge was all about how to actually enjoy it. It had to be special and ceremonious and we needed to do it right.
Last week I pulled the lemon off of the tree, ready to force a decision upon ourselves as to how it would be consumed. Do we all get a quarter of it and simply eat it? I was game but no one else was on board. Do we use it in a cocktail? Not a bad idea but then the kids would feel left out. Maybe we each take our 1/4 lemon and do whatever the hell we want to with it? Still no definitive direction.
This past Saturday was my son's 12th birthday. We were having some family over and decided on serving lobster rolls, one of his personal favorites. I wasn't thinking about that Meyer lemon sitting in the fruit bowl in the kitchen at all until I stepped out the front door and saw this:
One special lemon
My son was chilling, drinking a lemon soda and I commented on how much he loves all things lemon flavored. BOOM, it all came into focus. This was the day our special lemon would be devoured.
True story, my wife craved and was obsessed with citrus when she was pregnant with my son. Lemonade, lemon ice, lime cookies and orange juice were all a part of her daily diet. And no lie, from the day he was born and could eat regular foods, my son loved everything lemon flavored. There has to be a connection here.
I ran back into the house and consulted with my wife. We had the plan in place. Out came the lemon and we cut it in half:      
One special lemon
Looking good.
One quarter or so was eaten by yours truly (delicious by the way) and the rest was squeezed into a pot:
One special lemon
The lemon juice would be flavoring the butter that would be flavoring the ...
One special lemon
The lobster rolls were a huge hit and the best I've ever had. That friggin lemon juice made all the difference in the world. Our special fruit used for a special kid on his special day. Quick, call Hallmark, I'm getting all mushy and crap.
Happy birthday big guy, never change. We love you.  
One special lemon
If we never get another lemon of of that tree, It still did its job.

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