Tart: An Acquired Taste

I had a little problem  a few weeks ago and a friend recommended that I drink Cranberry  Juice.  I do not drink juices but went to the supermarket.  The cranberry juices were in different varieties.  Finally, I chose one but after drinking some of it, decided that it was too sweet for my taste.  I went to the health food store and picked up  the same size but it cost three times the price.  The recommended serving was three ounces, which I poured into a glass added four cubes of ice.  On my way back to the living room I took a mouthful and instantly was spitting it all over the place.  Tart!! Sharp!!Acidic!! Hold on a minute.  Who drinks this stuff?  I swear it is going to burn a hole in my stomach.

I was visiting my daughter and took  it with me.  So my teenage grandson wanted to try it.  I told him how acid it tasted, but he still wanted to try.  I watched in amazement as he drank about three ounces of the juice.  What? Is his stomach lined with lead or something? “It is an acquired taste, grandma,” he tells me.

So then I started to think.  As I grow older I cannot tolerate any food or drink that is too acidic.  I remember my school days when  I could eat fruit such as gooseberries, golden apples, tamarinds, lemons, all I needed was some salt sprinkled on the top.  I cannot do this anymore.  With age the stomach acids begin to decrease and the lining is easily irritated.  Back to my cranberry juice, over several days I manage to tolerate it better.  The problem cleared up so I guess that it was worth it after all.



A Childhood Song

As a child in primary school after lunch was song time.  We sang all kinds of songs.  One of my favorites was Waltzing Matilda.   I have always been intrigued by this song but I had no idea what the words meant. “Once a jolly swagman walked into a billabong.  Under the shade of a coolibah tree. ” Who or what was a swagman?  what on earth was a billabong or a coolibah tree?   Living on a Caribbean island, I had no clue what the song was talking about.   Here was this man  singing and waiting for his billy to boil – you come -a waltzing-Matilda with me.  I loved the tune.   It was jumpy.

I checked my Miriam-Webster dictionary, but could not find those terms. Then hooray for the internet and Google.  So let me share it with you.  I learned that it is an Australian Bush Ballad that was written in 1895.  The song is about a tramp who wanders from place to place looking for work.  One day he found a sheep that belonged to a rich cattle rancher. He killed it, ate some of it and put the rest in his bag.  Unfortunately, the rancher came by and he had three policemen with him.  The swagman did not want to be arrested so he jumped into the water hole and drowned.  After his death people said that they could hear him singing the chorus waltzing Matilda as they passed by.

Now, my favorite song makes a lot of sense.

By Unknown – New South Wales Government Printer, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1221739




Banned: Freedom to Read

Free Stock Photo: An stack of old books isolated on a white background

Every year the college where I teach celebrate Banned Books week.  Students and faculty are encouraged to participate by reading a passage from a book that has been banned or challenged.  Although I have never participated,I reviewed a few of the books that were banned years ago and noted that some of them were still on the banned list today.  To me it was amusing that the Bible is one of those books, because of its religious content.  Yet we have a religious theme on the one dollar bill.  How about the swearing in of the President?

Then I wondered about the banning of religious books of other religions.  Yet we have freedom of speech.  We can say whatever  we want within certain limits.  Why then are we banning certain books, based on what a particular group may think or feel about their content?  We should also have the freedom to choose what we want to read.

Nostalgia: It is Christmas

Red poinsettia flowers : Free Stock Photo

When I was a child Christmas was a big event for me.  I grew up in the Caribbean.  We did not have the four seasons, as the weather was hot all year.  Christmas was the time when we did our “Spring cleaning.”  The homes were painted, new curtains at the windows,  the house was cleaned up inside and out.  Everything was shiny and new.  People saved up money all year to go shopping.  The stores in the town would be crowded, and everywhere people were laughing and happy.  We had no snow, but the outside of the homes would be swept and we would scatter sand and marl all around.

The best part were the sounds of Christmas.  Carols would be played on the radio beginning in October, and various village and church choirs could be heard rehearsing.  There were the smells of Christmas as well.  The baking of delicious cakes and bread, ham, meat and the making of favorite drinks, Sorrell, ginger beer  and mauby.

 The highlights of Christmas were getting new clothes, and going to  5 am church service on Christmas morning.  After church,  we went to the park to meet our friends and listen to seasonal music played by the Police band. Then it was home, to enjoy the biggest dinner of the year with friends and family.

The Poinsettia is the flower of Christmas.   It would begin to bloom around October and everywhere would be a sea of red.  Living in a large metropolitan country like New York the emphasis of Christmas is more secular than religious.  I miss all of the “getting ready for Christmas,” that we did when I was a child.  Four years ago I was back home for Christmas and yes all of the magic was still there.  I feel the nostalgia every year when Christmas rolls around.