We have always loved the bluegrass area of Kentucky.  So, on this hot, sunny June day we decided to re-visit its rolling hills with miles of white fences that enclose some of the fastest, most beautiful horses on earth.

As we rambled along Highway 68 toward Harrodsburg, we spied signs advertising “400 miles of garage sales.”  I’d heard of a garage sale that practically extended the length of the whole state.  We did not drive down for this, but…since we were here…we had to stop for at least just one!

We pulled up to a large, shaded, front yard dotted with large tables groaning with treasures.  We picked up a plate here; three glasses there.

We met all of the vendors whose front yards were now retail establishments.  One joked with us insisting that we should trade in our car to buy his shiny Model T Ford.

After sharing a few local stories and laughs,  we put our purchases in the trunk and discovered that we had car trouble.  We called for roadside assistance and were told that a tow truck could maybe get there in an hour or so and tow us back to Lexington and the next day they could take a look at our car.  The next DAY…oh no…we had reservations at an inn and dinner was 6:30!

The neighbors gathered round and offered suggestions to help us.  We got back on the phone with the service department.  Oh, did I mention it was about 95 degrees?  These wonderful folks insisted that we pull into their shaded drive. Then they came out with two tall, frosty glasses of lemonade, which we thankfully accepted….then….OK, this is the unbelievable part….they offered us their CAR!  Yes, they said that we should just go ahead and take their car and bring it back in the morning!

Folks it’s 2011, and these wonderful, hospitable folks just offered us their car!  I have to tell you we were overwhelmed by their gracious spirit and hospitality. Isn’t it wonderful to know that there are still people who will lend a helping hand to total strangers?  Isn’t this really what is important…community and caring for one another?

We may have gone for a ride in the country but what we got was so much more.  We came away (yes, the car finally started) with a renewed belief in the kindness of strangers.

Why did this experience resonate within me to such a great degree?  One reason might be that this epitomizes what I am trying to share on my blog…which is to get us all to connect with each other again.  Sharing and caring…family…community…they are all so very important for our future and our children’s future.

This Sunday, inspired by this experience, I’d like to share with you my classic recipe for an old fashioned summer treat….lemonade.  Every time I have a sip I will think of this story and smile….I hope that you will too!

Old Fashioned Classic Lemonade

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

I like to chill this in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before serving. This recipe is a bit more complicated than just adding lemon juice, water and sugar but the taste is much richer, and I believe, well worth the effort.

Ingredients:

6 lemons - 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups water
1 cup sugar

Directions:

Pressing down with your hand, roll the lemons back and forth on a hard surface to release their juices. Cut lemons in two and squeeze out juice reserving the lemon rinds and place the rinds in a large bowl. You can strain the juice if you like to remove the pulp, or leave the pulp if you prefer.

Boil 4 cups of water.

Place the sugar in a bowl and cover with 1 cup water and stir to dissolve.

Cover the lemon rinds with the other 3 cups of boiling water and let this sit for about an hour and you will have lemon infused water. Discard the rinds.

In a large pitcher, combine the lemon juice, the dissolved sugar water, the 3 cups of lemon infused water and the remaining 2 cups of water.

Garnish with mint and lemon slices if you like.