No Limes Today

Excuse me, I can’t find the limes? An innocent question of the Safewayindex produce guy. He gave me a quirky grin and a “No, we have no limes. It’s kind of a weird story.” I waited ….
“Well, the information handed down to us, is that Mexican drug cartels are involved, they are taking over the lime sales.” “You mean some drug guys are getting involved with the lime business?” It seemed far-fetched, do drug bosses need an ongoing supply of limes to go with cocaine, or their margaritas and tacos, I wondered. Safeway produce guy (young) and I (old) agreed—likely this was not going to be a story on the prime time news.
“No limes today, my love has gone away,
The end of my hopes the end of all my dreams,” kept circling in my brain to the old Herman’s Hermits melody. So I did what the curious do, when a lime was on the list, and I doubted the information given by scrubbed grocery guy … I went home and googled it. Was my head buried in the sand? Apparently.
lime_310590And yes, what grocery boy said was true, at least partially, according to several online reports. Poor weather and “Yellow Dragon” disease have reduced the crop as well. Most of the articles featured restaurant owners that bemoaned the issue of not having fresh limes for their margaritas, mohitos and other lime based drinks. Slices were being charged for as well. It seemed a bit shallow for me to be concerned about the inconvenience of lime slices when farmers were fighting drug cartels. This is not a journalistic blog reporting on the scenario. This blog focuses on Hope in the hard places, and these lime farmers must be in a very hard place. I don’t want to begrudge the legitimate price increase, it is the back-story. From some on-line reports, the drug cartels had been intimidating farmers to buy “insurance/protection” from them for the product(limes). And now the farmers were trying to stand up to the drug lords.
We live in a small world after all. Here in small-town Alberta we don’t have limes because of a drug cartel in Mexico?
No milk(limes) today, my love has gone awayIMG_3982
The bottle stands forlorn, a symbol of the dawn
No milk(limes) today, it seems a common sight
But people passing by don’t know the reason why
How could they know just what this message means?
The end of my hopes, the end of all my dreams

And I am guessing that the hopes and dreams of some Mexican farmers have ended.

Excerpts taken from the google search:
Just when the credo of fresh juice in cocktails has permeated every decent bar in America, a shortage of limes and immense spike in price is having some bar owners and managers worrying about the tough reality this poses: increase drink prices or find alternatives to fresh limes?
Even in Mexico, the issue is dire. According to CNN Mexico, prices in the country have spiked to almost 80 pesos ($6) a kilo, so its no surprise that prices here are bad. In a survey of friends across the country, prices have gone from a low of about $25 a case to the current market price of $135 a case.
But there is relief in sight. In Mexico this week people started seeing a 15% price drop as production from the states of Colima and Veracruz have started to come in. Lets hope we see it here too—perhaps we’ll have an even better reason to raise a margarita this Cinco de Mayo.

Sources online:

Scars-Tattoos with a Better Story

IMG_9584 An article in the Calgary Sun caught my eye yesterday, “Rising out of the Fire/Man rises above horrifying crime” (Calgary Sun March 2, 2014 article by Nadia Moharib) After a few lines, the story sounded vaguely familiar, and then it became evident why: this crime happened in a small Mennonite community thirty miles from my Manitoba home town in October, 1990. The event shocked with its brutality. Yesterday was a follow up story on Tyler Pelke, who had been assaulted, had his throat slashed, set on fire, and left for dead. Pelke survived, Curtis Klassen, his friend and fellow hockey player did not. Earl Giesbrecht (17 at the time) was sentenced to life in prison for this crime. Because of the proximity and cultural background, I followed that story as it went though the court system, but eventually filed it on a back shelf. My life continued on, but Tyler’s was altered forever. Yesterday’s article told the tale of this young man’s long road to recovery, starting with a description of the fire-boiled scars that cover his chest while a thick one crosses his throat, daily reminders of what happened more than two decades ago. The scars exist, visible and invisible, but he refuses to be defined by them. Pelke, now an assistant deputy chief with the Calgary Fire Department was quoted re his scars: “It’s a reminder of what I have overcome—I’ve been through fire, some days it’s a reminder to be thankful. Some days I don’t even see them.” And Pelke has chosen not to let his scars or what happened to haunt him, but he strives to be the best person he can be, and he shares his story with various groups in the hopes that he can encourage others to reach their full potential, and overcome the obstacles they face. For me, it was inspirational to read Tyler’s further story, to hear in a nutshell what will have taken him years to process and heal from.
Elbert Hubbard said “God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.”

Show us the Olympic Victory

imagesShow us the victory, and make it pretty.
A proud Olympic moment for Canada as the Dufour-Lapointe sisters won gold and silver in the 2014 moguls event, and a third sister placed twelfth. And as a proud Canadian I watched the replay of their winning event, watched the podium moment, saw the CBC interview and got a warm fuzzy feeling as the parents shared the pride of this moment. What I did not want was to join them for the 6am training sessions (I couldn’t even get up for the live 4am event), the years of discipline and endless weekend sporting events with soggy sandwiches and coffee on the road tracking their daughters. Who are the real heroes? Only two medal winners will be remembered, and in that moment all the training will have paid off.
Sometimes I am asked to share my story of grief, people want to know the highlight moments, to be inspired by stories of success … without the personal hard work that takes place. We want to share the podium, feel the pride, avoid the pain …
Hmm, if I could hand out a medal … images-2years ago when I worked as an operating room nurse, a late-thirties mother brought her teen aged son in for dental work. Dental work, a cleaning and a filling or two should have been a mundane event … but her son was autistic, he did not understand or want to cooperate. The amount of effort extended to get him to the point of sedation … was similar to the luge event, run alongside, strap the boy to the sled, knock him out and run with it. Utter exhaustion exuded from her eyes, she deserved the medal, she has been one of my unsung heroes. IMG_2872That day, I defied our privacy policy, I took her name and address down, and after work I delivered flowers to her house. In all my years of nursing I had never done that … but that was one of those gold medal moments … she had put in the training the dedication, she deserved the medal, all I could do was provide the bouquet.