There is a Meyer lemon tree in our front yard. If you’re a lemon fan, you probably know that Meyers are highly valued because they are sweet, thin-skinned and fragrant. The tree is loaded with lemons almost year-round, and neighbors covet them. My neighborhood has grown to be a very international place in the last 20 years. People living around me come from India, Iraq, the Philippines, Singapore, China, Eritrea, Japan…all over the world. They knock on our door and ask if they can pick lemons, and I never refuse. I give them a plastic bag, and carte blanche to pick as many as they want.
“Come anytime,” I tell them. “You don’t even have to ask. And don’t worry if we’re not home, go ahead and pick.” There are just so many lemons. The tree, 30 years old and absolutely huge, is loaded with them. And I am handsomely rewarded for my generosity. The Iraqi family on one side of us picks many lemons. They also have many parties, with lots of delicious, exotic Middle Eastern food flavored with an array of exquisite spices and herbs, and of course our lemons. They bring over large plates heavily laden with delicacies. A woman across the street, from India, also picks lemons often and always brings over a big bowl of the delicious lemon-flavored rice she makes. Other lemon-picking neighbors bring us food from diverse cultures.
My only complaint is that no one makes lemon meringue pie. I keep hoping.