It was my turn to host Bunco this week. For those unfamiliar, Bunco is a dice game, that I find lots of fun and a great excuse to get together with a fabulous group of women once a month. We always enjoy good eats and libations and often a theme is involved. A southern girl loves to entertain and enjoys the challenge of matching a menu to a theme. Our group has been together for a while and a month ago we lost one of our members after a long battle with cancer. This would be our first Bunco gathering since and I really wanted to have a theme with a positive message. Truth be told, I came up with my theme right after we had signed up for our turns in January. I wanted my friend to feel up lifted and literally shred cancer, or at least the word in my paper shredder. This will make sense once I finally share with you my theme: Take your lemons and make lemonade. I knew I would make things like, lemon pound cake, lemon melt-away cookies, lemon and parsley gougeres with ham for miniature sandwiches and homemade cucumber lemon pickles among others. I found a fabulous recipe for a Limoncello cocktail and a vanilla and rosemary infused lemonade. Menu mastered, but I wanted the theme to mean more. I planned to make paper lemons and have the girls write their woes on them, then shred them, symbolically turning their lemons into lemonade. Have you ever noticed some folks have a knack for turning the disappointments and turmoil in life around without seeming to ruffle a feather? I confess, I am not one of them. I have always been an optimist, sometimes to a fault. I believe in the power of positive thinking and in my younger years would get downright obstinate in the face of anyone or anything that seemed to rain on my rose garden. With age, I have developed a better acceptance of reality. I even will take life’s lemons and squeeze out the lemonade once I have given a problem a bit of hand wringing first. It is remarkable how choosing to find the sweet in the sour can turn you around and put you on a more graceful path. So when our friend was released from her cancer ravaged body to soar with the angels, I briefly thought my reasons for my theme no longer mattered. After reflection I realized it was actually more apropos than ever. We needed the optimism of turning lemons into lemonade. We needed to shred our worries so we could find grace as we move forward. My grandmother who died at 100 was a model of facing adversity with grace and dignity. She was not a southern woman, she came from hearty New England stock in Maine. She was born pre World War I and died in the 1990’s. I firmly believe she lived as long as she did because she had mastered the art of turning her lemons into lemonade. Maybe in a few years I will be as graceful as she in dealing with the inevitable challenges that come my way. So I went forward with my theme and I will say it was well-received. I smiled as I watched these women I have come to love shred their worries. After I closed the door behind the last guest. I wrote, losing friends to cancer on a paper lemon and released a deep breath as it disappeared with the whir of the shredder.