I feel like I’m in a time warp that’s taking me back to my childhood. I grew up and spent a good majority of my life in Oklahoma – the land of red dirt and wide open prairie. Summers were excruciatingly hot and humid, but back then I loved it.
I remember that idyllic time when everything was simple and playful. Watching lightening bugs (fireflies) was a nightly activity and I could spend hours singing at the top of my lungs while swinging on my swing set in the back yard. I still know the feeling of that hot summer sun on my face – it feels totally different now.
One thing I loved about Oklahoma was the sky. The sky seemed bigger then, more open and full of wonder. Blue skies were bluer and the truth-telling clouds were fluffier and more defined into shapes that could take your mind to far off places. The stars burned brighter in an Oklahoman sky and you could never keep count of the billions upon billions of them that you could actually see. I can’t even tell you how many of my memories involve that sky.
This (newfound) love for Oklahoma may stem from the realization that my childhood was incredibly peaceful. My biggest worry was me. Not traffic. Not money. Not even what to wear each day. When was the last time any of us had that? I didn’t know how special it was then, but now I appreciate every second I spent there.
The rustling shimmer of wheat fields, the faint smell of cow manure, the pulsing hum of locusts all day, everyday – all of this will forever hold a place in my heart.
In lieu of taking you to Oklahoma to experience the summers there for yourself, I’m bringing you a lemonade recipe. Four ingredients make up this refreshing summer beverage. It’s almost as simple and sweet as an Oklahoma summer.
½ cup honey + ½ cup water
Juice of 8 lemons (about 1 cup)
1 pint of strawberries
5 cups water
First, make the honey simple syrup by combining ½ cup honey and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Next, juice the lemons. Ideally, you’ll end up with about 1 cup of lemon juice.
Then hull the strawberries, cut them in half and toss them in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, then pour the pureed strawberries through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.
Combine the lemon juice, strawberry puree, 5 cups water and ½ cup of the honey simple syrup in a pitcher and stir well. Adjust the sweetness based on your taste. Chill and serve.