With age comes wisdom, and with that wisdom comes the knowledge that not everybody shares the same frame of reference I have. My kids, for instance, along with most of my young classmates, don’t know what ‘orange juice from concentrate’ means. What they do know is the disclaimer on all the oj containers they grew up with that says ‘Fresh! Not from Concentrate!’ This is advertised with such emphasis you’d think it says ‘Now Booger Free!’
The orange juice of my childhood came in a small can my mother kept in the freezer until she defrosted it and dumped it in a pitcher with enough water to make a quart. When she forgot to defrost it, the orange ice could be scooped out of the little can with a spoon and added to a glass of water. For a kid, it took a good eye to carve out just the right size chunk so the glass tasted like Mom made it, but going to more effort than that when the can was frozen was beyond consideration. Our small Brooklyn apartment on a hectic school morning was a busy town.
By the time my own children were having their childhood, oj had morphed into a multiple choice: Do you want it with calcium, less sugar, added vitamins, no pulp, some pulp, lots of pulp, most pulp? How about mixed with tangerine, banana, strawberry? Perhaps sir or madam is looking for something more exotic, say from Valencia? That’s somewhere in Europia.
Over the weekend I had a stomach bug that had me in bed way longer than I wanted to be on a Sunday, and the company I kept for several hours included Tony Soprano and his family. Both of them. In one episode, Tony ambled down the driveway in his bathrobe to where Carmela had escaped him to smoke a secret cigarette and sulk about her marriage. Cradled in his arm was a half-gallon of Tropicana Lots of Pulp Orange Juice. He stood before his miserably unhappy wife and said, “You got the wrong one.”
She said, “What are you talking about? It’s the one you like.” Handing the container to her, Tony said, “I like the SOME pulp; not the MOST pulp.” I missed what her response was because I was holding my stomach while laughing, but I did catch the part where she threw the half-gallon at him. I probably didn’t miss much. I’m sure A&E blocked out her answer.
So it all comes down to the pulp, doesn’t it? Having so many choices is bound to create devoted followers. When my kids were in grade school, they were pulp-free with the commitment of kosher vegans. One day, I brought home oj with pulp in an attempt to broaden their horizons. They each took a swig and looked at me in disgust. They were horrified. The pulp brushed against their throats going down. They called it guppy juice.
The Sopranos tickled me because when I married Husband, it turned out his preference was the Tropicana with the pulp. At my urging, he tried to describe the container, but couldn’t recall the exact wording. Finally, he lit up and said, “Not the Grovestand; the Homestyle. Is that what you mean?” He was so cute and earnest, I had to give him a kiss and tell him that was exactly what I meant. And in my head, I was thinking, “the one with SOME guppies.”
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