The Lime Popsicle
Oh the dreaded lime popsicle. Certainly all of us know where this story could be going, for we have our own version of the green popsicle.
There are things we’re fond of and things we’re not. As for myself, I don’t care for the taste of artificial citrus flavors. It’s odd because I’m okay with real orange juice and real lemonade. But I can’t handle artificial citrus flavors. Lemon. Lime. Orange. Can’t do it.
Enter into a discussion about black licorice, and I’m there to say how incredibly fond I am of black licorice. And coconut. How can you not like coconut?
I’ve never forgotten an afternoon in my childhood when I was visiting friends. The mother of the family brought out a box of popsicles. She made it known that you were not allowed to verbalize your favorite flavor. In their family – just accept what you get.
I was concerned because there was only a two-in-five chance I would receive a popsicle worth eating. There were red, purple, green, yellow, and orange. I watched as the popsicles were distributed. And I saw my friend’s mother pick up a green one. It was handed to me.
What’s a little girl to do if she wants to be polite? She eats the green popsicle. She doesn’t enjoy one moment of it. She’s too young to know how to handle the situation. She is a child, and she is expected to do all the right things.
As an adult, I’d like to think I’d handle the situation differently. But would I? There are lots of lime popsicles handed our way over the years. Do we really know how to handle real-life popsicle scenarios?
If put in this situation as an adult, and I watch as a lime popsicle is handed to me, (keeping in mind the children were not given a choice), what’s a grown woman to do?
Were it lime candy, I’d put it in my purse. But a lime popsicle?
Think about how long it takes to eat a popsicle. The taste remains in your mouth for quite some time. If it’s a flavor you like – good for you. If not – you won’t soon forget it.
Forward ahead more than fifty years. The little girl is at a writers’ group meeting. She learns her group will be doing one of those pass-a-story exercises. Each person will randomly draw a piece of paper from a hat. Written upon the paper is a writing prompt to use as the start of a story.
The hat full of little papers makes its way around the room. One of the ladies selects a writing prompt that isn’t going to work for her. She speaks up and tells us why.
It reminded me of my lime popsicle moment. I told the others we’d just witnessed the selection of a lime popsicle. Certainly there was a better option for her. They knew what I meant. It was agreed – let her draw again.
We were then given some quiet time to come up with the beginning of our story before reading it to those who were present.
One of the ladies had drawn a writing prompt about phobias. When it was her turn to read aloud the beginning of her story, we learned her character, a man, was frightened by lime popsicles. A lime popsicle phobia!
Our writing went home with us. We were to add to the story and bring our work to the next meeting.
Then winter happened. We all know that the darkness, the cold, the snow, and the icy roads can keep those, with the choice to make a long drive or not, hunkered down for the night. I knew my absence meant I would be missing the stories.
Enter spring. The mild weather meant I could return to the meetings and hear where the stories had gone. I listened as the lime popsicle story had taken on a life of its own. It was science fiction. With a humorous twist.
When the traveling pass-a-stories are complete, I hope to obtain a copy. How will the guy with the lime popsicle phobia fare? What kind of things will happen to him?
It was decades ago when I was the little girl in the back yard dealing with the lime popsicle incident. When I think of the traumatic times in my life, I can’t recall too many. I must have had a pretty good childhood.
Life is full of choices we make for ourselves. And choices we make for others. There are so many lessons to learn. So many lessons to teach.
As an adult, I have come to the conclusion that life is about growing. About loving those around us. About giving. Having fun is simply something that happens while we grow, love, and give.
Perhaps while we’re searching for answers on how to handle a situation, we may simply ask ourselves, “What would Love do?” Then do it.
If you think about it, life is one big pass-a-story. There are friends who’ve added to our story: Co-workers and teachers. Classmates and teammates. Neighbors and friends. Those who work at the downtown store. Those we’ve simply hung out with.
My friend’s mother, who handed me the lime popsicle and told me the rules of their home, would never have known she was writing a memorable moment into my personal pass-a-story.
Looking back upon my lime popsicle moment, it’s a reminder that we live through plenty of little problems when we’re little. And big problems when we’re big. Each day brings in lots of opportunities in which we decide how best to handle the situation at hand.
When we get together with friends, we catch up on what’s been going on in our lives. We talk. We listen. We learn if they’ve experienced any new lime-green moments. We hope to hear about plenty of red popsicles as well as lots of purples!
Since the quietness of winter is now over, and it’s time to again go outside, I’m thinking it’s also time to catch up with friends. We’ll meet at the place that serves the best pie. I’ll listen as I hear them order a slice of lemon meringue. Or key lime. And if they know me well enough, they won’t be surprised when they hear my order for coconut cream.
I’ll pick up the tab and let my friends leave an overly generous tip for certainly we’ve already decided – that’s what Love would do.