A big part of why we didn’t do anything for New Year’s Eve is that my Grandma had demanded our presence for New Year’s Day to watch the parade. In my family when I was growing up (and in hers), the Rose Parade was tradition.
To be fair, it was less strict a tradition in my house. We drove over really early. Like, left at 7 something. But we left a bit later than we’d planned, and were driving over the Sepulveda Pass as the military flyover swooshed over the freeway. But we made it in time for most of the parade, minus the first few minutes. Grandma and I watched, Ryan napped on the guest bed. He’s not a big parade guy. Grandma had a Trader Joe’s panettone (the best ever) and I toasted some for breakfast while she narrated what I was missing from the living room. She has watched the parade literally forever and filled me in on the histories of every detail and float and sponsor. When the parade was over, she had me sit and watch the first few minutes again (they replay it, so we didn’t technically HAVE to be there at 8, but that is what was required). Then she wanted help picking the satsuma tangerines from the tree in the backyard and mentioned it had taken her an entire day to juice the last pitcher she made. I offered to juice for her, so we set off on that mission.
Navels and Satsumas and lemons, oh my!
The trees sadly didn’t produce NEARLY as much as they did under Grandpa’s green thumb, but it wasn’t an unreasonable amount of fruit.
Ryan helped pick, but was out for the rest of the visit as the Georgia game was on. I got lectured for interrupting him during the game, which I thought was funny because of how much Grandma mostly dislikes the TV (she calls it the idiot box) unless it’s playing the News Hour or Masterpiece Theatre. But he got a pass to watch the game, so she and I ended up juicing.
In my recollection, we picked the satsumas WAY too early. In the past, the lemons would come in first, then the navel oranges around the same time, and the tangerines weren’t ready until at least February. I think she’s so worried about getting everything done now that it’s just her, though, so I didn’t argue. Many of the tangerines were practically green, though, and they were so tiny–smaller than clementines! And usually when Grandpa picked them, they were much bigger, with loose, pockety skin, that you could just break into and the tangerine would practically fall out. They were delicious–too seedy, but they made excellent juice. She gave Ryan a glass to try, and he almost gagged, but diplomatically told her “it could use some sugar.” She said her neighbor who had also tried it agreed, but she didn’t believe in added sugar and just thought it had “that it factor.” They were so sour because they were very not ready to be picked, but again, I didn’t want to pick a fight over something so small.
Grandma washed while I cut and juiced. She has a fancy juicer that my uncle got her when she couldn’t juice the crazy amounts of citrus they had by hand anymore. It made quick work of the tangerines. The most tedious part was cutting such small fruits.
During the game, we paused for lunch. She buys a honey baked ham once a year (for New Year’s), and she had had Todd pick it up and after he, Thom, and their friend Jeff had had their fill, we got the rest for our New Year’s lunch. I’m not a big ham fan, but this honey baked ham is the business.
Doling out the ham
We left tired but full and happy. It feels good to visit and help her out.