I’ve had a yen for “Special Juice” lately. Maybe it’s that summer has never been complete without it. Perhaps it’s that everything glorious about this late July and early August weather has been particularly “special” as well, given the Polar Vortex, the drenching May and the cold gray June we had this year. What’s more likely is that the “Special Juice” person, aka Bob Carlson is residing in heaven and no one on earth has yet been able to duplicate his perfected recipe, least of all me.

Special Juice: It’s a mixture of concentrated frozen lemonade, frozen orange juice, fresh squeezed lemons and fresh squeezed oranges. Crushed ice is a part of this concoction, as well. On face value special juice hardly seem special. Nor does it appear to be difficult to prepare. Trust me, I have yet to duplicate Bob’s recipe. I know the frozen lemon concentrate is not to be diluted as called for on the can, and the orange juice has a bit more heft as well. I never have been privy to how much fresh lemon juice provides that needed tang, nor how much fresh squeezed orange juice ameliorates a too sour manifestation. And so I have to admit to a lack of tenacity in experimentation, a kind of laziness on my part, a giving up if you will. 

I have wondered if on some subconscious level I have been reluctant to pick up the special juice mantle, to perfect what I identify with him only, my husband of 57 years. My only love, the one who labored with humor over a pitcher of crushed ice and all that lovely pulpy, sweet/sour, summer-time mixture, keen to make it special just for all of us who loved it. 

Sometime I’ll write about “special” scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade apple sauce and “love in the sandwich”. For now I write about special juice as the soft August breeze touches my bare arms and bull frogs croak in our pond and I lie in a queen sized bed for one, computer on my lap and even three years later muse with poignant memories on “special juice” and the one who prepared it. 

April D. Carlson, LCSW