Lockdown Lemonade #39 by Ed Brand and Leslie Beauvais

Reconstituted Lemonade

“Now my question is, why are there always lessons?
And what if we never learn them, do they return again?
Is there magic that keeps us moving forward
like a tide that pulls us shoreward?
And will these lessons end?”
Severin Browne, Lessons

With all his wisdom, our dear friend Severin probably never saw this lesson coming. How many of us could have predicted a pandemic would stop the world cold? But here we all are, almost on the other side of it, and “what if we never learn” the lesson it has taught us so viscerally? So tragically: Some of us paid the ultimate price to learn it. Will those of us lucky enough to have survived learn it, too? I can sum up the lesson in a word: Gratitude. For cherished friends and family, for unconditional love, for good health. For the privilege of just being alive.

Our little family has so much to be grateful for. We managed not only to survive the lockdown, but to actually thrive and even prosper. In March of 2020, our landlord approached us with an opportunity to buy the wonderful condo we’ve rented for years – then the Covid lockdown hit. Leslie was furloughed from massage therapy, and with me working the gig economy, our prospects for securing a mortgage seemed all but hopeless. But lemons turned to lemonade:

I found a long-term salaried voice project with the biggest payday of my career, and Leslie was hired as a massage therapist for a doctor’s office, which meant she could keep working right through the lockdown – and finally getting paid what she’s worth. It took six months of blood, tears and sweat to put it all together, but we’re now owners of a beautiful condo, happily making all those renovations we had dreamt about for so long. Oh, and in the six months it took to finally secure the loan, mortgage rates fell to historic lows. Gratitude.

The nation has much to be grateful for, too: In a very real sense, Covid-19 is the physical manifestation of all the ugliness, hatred, and ignorance unleashed in the world in recent times.

Who’s to say that the stress, fear and frustration endured during the pandemic didn’t play a major role in motivating record numbers of Americans to get out and vote last November? Maybe we couldn’t stop the virus, but damned if we wouldn’t do everything in our power to restore sanity and civility in our lives. And so we did, at least for now. Gratitude.

Plus a bonus lesson: Empowerment.

Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.

Make today count.

“If not us, not them
If not now, then when?
If not here, nor there
If not this world
Then where?”
-John Gorka, If Not Now (with a nod to the Talmud)

~Ed Brand and Leslie Beauvais

Ed Brand is a voice actor, 27-year veteran air talent with the Westwood One Radio network, and occasional sound guy for local venues, including a stint at FAR-West Woodland Hills in 2019.

Singer-songwriter Leslie Beauvais sang with the Young Americans, performed in the Broadway touring company of Les Miserables, and is now working on her fourth album of original songs. When not enchanting people with her music, she eases their aches and pains as a gifted massage therapist. Listen on Bandcamp and at www.LeslieBeauvais.com

Lockdown Lemonade is FAR-West’s response to the dramatic and drastic shifts of 2020’s global health and economic crises. For many, thiscultural reckoning and political upheaval spurred a period of personal reflection and the discovery of coping mechanisms some of us didn’t even know we had. Lockdown Lemonade is a look at the bright side. With this collection of flash creative nonfiction, brief personal essays, recollections, and musings from members of our community, we hope to shine a light on the best things that can and have come out of the most challenging of times. This column will continue on a weekly basis and postings will be released at 10 AM Pacific every Monday, so watch for them! For guidelines and submission details, please contact Julie Zipperer at julieZ@far-west.org or Marlynn Block at marlynn@far-west.org. Submissions will be posted based on approval from the Lockdown Lemonade Committee.
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