My childhood home had a multitude of citrus trees around our pool, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and mandarins. It’s no wonder we were always outside swimming in the Centralian heat, desert temperatures perfect for aquatic adventures and food within arm’s reach. The neighbourhood kids would come over and we’d all be bombing into the water and playing Marco Polo. Quite often some of the fruit would make its way into the pool, and, as you do when you are a child, you’d throw it out of the water… usually directed at someone standing along its edge.
And so was born the Great Age of the Lemon Wars!
Before my parents came home from work, we’d chuck all evidence over the back fence. I was sure to get any play privileges revoked with the back yard littered with yellow bombs. Though, as luck would have it, our neighbours took unkindly to our dumping of copious fruit over the fence and proceeded to toss them back over – and whola! It’s raining lemons.
Lemon Wars on Steroids!
I’m positive it was not our neighbour’s intention for us to enjoy the barrage of flying citrus. We danced and giggled dodging projectiles and pitching them back over to continue the game. It goes without saying we were not popular with those who dwelled over the back fence. But nonetheless they provided us with hours of entertainment in the summer months.
I don’t think ever met these tumultuous neighbours in the ten years I lived there, or even bothered to learn their names. They were just ‘the enemy.’ It’s funny how childhood perception is so limited… It never occurred to us that what we were doing was wrong, that is could land my parents into trouble. We lived in a fantasy world of exploding mortars and mermaids and sharks, living off the land on an alien planet.
I must thank those unnamed people who dwelled over my back fence, you fed my imagination, kept me entertained and were a constant companion through gangly limbs, braces and sunny weekends. (Who knows maybe you actually enjoyed throwing lemons backward and forward?)
But as in all wars, there are causalities… It’s all fun and games until someone gets pelted in the face with a lemon – and leaves in tears. Which happened to be my best friend. She had reached that age when you start to discover boys – and instead of standing guard, was ogling the boy from down the street diving into the pool and did not see the incoming projectile. It was of the slightly over-ripe variety. A little mushy. So when it connected with her cheek it exploded in magnanimous glory, covering her entire head in sticky goo. We thought it was awesome, my friend not so much. She was totally humiliated in front of the boy she liked and stormed out in a trail of language to put a truck driver to shame.
And that caused a cease-fire. At least until the next weekend…
Make love not lemon wars… or at least, if you have to, make lemonade.
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