Throughout my life, there have been few inanimate objects so widely known for their fight against urinary tract infections. The tart, yet often sweet taste, born from a mix of freshly squeezed cranberries and an astonishingly high amount of sugar brings my urethra to perfect health. Although this UTI-cleansing life is a beautiful truth for the elderly among us to discuss, this is not even the core of my fascination with cranberry juice. No, it is not why it inspires me, and it is not what has inspired me from my youth, 12 years ago.
For me, cranberry juice brings me to summer time, to long days too oft forgotten. The sweat glistening, the size 5 sneakers pounding on the earth, the soccer balls flying through the air. We would play for hours, and then regroup in my garage, grabbing our drink of choice to refresh ourselves. My friends, the poor health-decision makers they are, would choose Coke or Wild Cherry Pepsi, while the smart ones, often home-schooled, would choose water. But for me, none of these would suffice. I wanted something delicious, yet convenient. Sweet, yet tart. Refreshing, yet bold. It was in fifth grade that I fell in love with cranberry juice for the first time, a love that my future wife will have to know she’s second to if ever a woman does love me.
What a glorious journey it has been for me, the last 12 years falling more and more in love, with every sip, every smile, every single red drop on the cap of the bottle I would lick up to insure no wasted beloved cran ever reaches a landfill. I got into this habit of not wasting a single drop by licking the lid as my way of saying, “I love you, and will be here for you forever. And also I respect you, I respect the subtle beauty, the unappreciated wisdom of the cran, the unloved juice that my soul so resonates with.”
And it is for this reason, more than any other, that the cranberry juice has become my main beverage of choice. Its taste, refreshment, and ability to fight the menacing UTI are all wonderful, but it reverberates within me as I gaze upon it with my own sense of self, my own sense of feeling like I am waiting for others to recognize me in my full potential, and my own untapped beauty.
It inspires me to be me as I drink it as it be it. And I drink it, remembering that something unloved by others can still be beautiful and delicious, just as we all need to be reminded about ourselves at times. It inspires me to do the best I can do, even as yet unrecognized by others in its deliciousness, the people in my life that don’t recognize the metaphorical UTI’s that I can cure in their lives.
It tastes delicious, brings joy into my life, and it is unabashedly itself, a quality we all strive to be.