Have you ever compared the taste of orange juice from frozen concentrate to a fresh orange from the tree? Both provide a viable source of vitamin C. . . but oh the differences! Concentrate is forgettable at best. No writes about it. But the tender texture; the perfect palm-of-your-hand packaging; the outrageous, orange hue; the crisp, Christmasy scent; the zippy/sweet tang; the slurpy goodness of an ripe orange fresh from the tree sets me to drooling – even now.

Laura Ingalls Wilder describes an experience with this delicacy at the party of a classmate in Little Town on the Prairie:

“Most marvelous of all, in front of each plate was an orange . . . The orange’s peal had been cut down from the top in little pointed sections, and each section was curled inward and down, like a flower’s red gold petals. Held within these petals was the flesh of the orange curled up, covered with its thin, white skin . . .”

As the party meal came to the dessert course, Laura began wondering about the orange before her. “If those oranges were meant to be eaten, she did not know when nor how. They were so pretty, it was a pity to spoil them. Still, she had once eaten a part of a orange, so she knew how good an orange tastes. Everyone one took a bite of cake, but no one touched an orange. Laura thought that perhaps the oranges were to be taken home. Perhaps she could take home an orange, to divide with Pa and Ma and Carrie and Grace. Then everyone saw Ben [the host] take his orange. He held it carefully over his plate, stripped off the petaled pealing and broke the orange into sections. He took a bite from one section, then took a bite of cake.

“Laura took up her orange, and so did everyone else. Carefully they pealed them, divided them into sections, and ate them with the slices of cake. All the peelings were neat on the plates when supper was finished. Laura remembered to wipe her hands daintily with her napkin, and to fold it . . .

“After the party, Ma was waiting up when Laura and Pa came in . . . ‘I can see what a good time you’ve had by the way your eyes are shining . . . Tomorrow you can tell all of us about the party.’

“‘Oh, Ma, each of us had a whole orange!’ Laura couldn’t help saying then, but she saved the rest to tell them together.” (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little Town on the Prairie, p. 246 – 251)

My Prayer: Father we don’t want The Church to remain frozen and forgettable. Tantalize us with Your fragrance. Reveal Your outrageous love. We are parched; Your Church is fainting for revival. Only You can make our eyes shine.

Susan’s journal, recorded 3/19/11


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