Last week a guy I’ve been lucky enough to work with for the past two years left Humboldt to move to Chicago. I thought about what I could send him off with, especially since I knew his truck was completely packed full. I decided on the one thing there’s always room for in every cross-country venture: booze.
Since planning ahead is not my strong suit, there were only a few days to steep the limoncello, but that was alright. I figured I could make it, bottle it, and it would be all ready for a housewarming cocktail when he got to his destination. The only problem was that it was Saturday, and I was in Loleta. I just couldn’t bring myself to drive to Eureka and was about to give up on the idea, when suddenly I remembered that the Safeway in Fortuna now has an organic section. And I remembered seeing lemons there.
Now…I don’t like Safeway much. I try not to shop there very often, but because I live in Midhum, it happens occasionally. There are a number of reasons, but my top two are the what-you-buy tracking thing and the hard sell on the non-local donations thing.
I’ll never forget the time I purchased a pregnancy test, and the cashier handed me a piece of paper with the phone number for a Christian pregnancy crisis center on it that had popped out of the register.
Just a few weeks ago I used my debit card, and before I could even enter my pin, the machine asked me if I wanted to donate to Easter Seals. Why in the world, I thought to myself, would I want to donate to an organization that just pulled out of Humboldt County and left a bunch of people without needed services? I quickly hit no. Then it was the cashier’s turn.
“Would you like to donate to Easter Seals? You could just round up your total.”
I looked at him quizzically. “Well, first of all, the machine already asked me. And second of all, you do realize the Easter Seals here just closed, right?”
“They’ll still be here providing administrative assistance,” he said with a grin.
Sometimes I just can’t help myself. “Are you kidding me?” I nearly growled. “Seriously. Are you lying to me, or is someone lying to you?”
“Have a great day,” he stammered as he shoved my bag into my hands and quickly turned to the next customer who was staring at me like I had sprouted horns.
But I digress. I was talking about lemons.
So I headed out to the Fortuna Safeway to buy ten organic lemons and one organic lime for a half-batch of the infamous and fabulous CCX limoncello.
This is what I found:
Not only were they proudly displayed like this, they were $1.29. Each.
Needless to say, the everclear is still sitting, sans lemon peel, in the cupboard. And poor Ben left for Chicago without a gift.
But wait…. as I was driving back through town, I happened to see a sign on a cute building on Main Street with “Coming Soon” written on the paper-covered windows. Could there be hope?