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Learning to turn lemons into lemonade

My son is an expert at making lemonade, what with all the lemons he’s been handed over the years. At a young age, his life was not full of prospects, and, frankly, he wasn’t too motivated to look for more. He was satisfied with who he was and what he was and where he was. If he wasn’t, he didn’t say so.

I’m not saying he didn’t complain. He complained about everything. Except himself, which is understandable, I think. I mean, look who he had for a father. There’s a lemon right there.

I came into his life late. He was not quite 10 when I met his mother, but in terms of parent/child relationships, that’s pretty late.

About the only thing we had in common was that we both wanted the last pork chop on the platter, so you can imagine how that went.

My family wasn’t much help. They recognized the rebellion in him but didn’t consider how it got there. Josh was a big talker from a long line of big talkers. My family is more of the put-up-or-shut-up ilk.

At 17, he took off and joined the Marines. That’s not average. It may not be entirely unique, but it’s not average.

Following the Marines, the next several years were a series of ups and downs for Josh. Personal lemons. Professional lemons. He kept clawing, though. Kept making lemonade. He found work as a mechanic – he worked on semis, train engines, fork lifts, big industrial equipment. Anything that weighs more than he does, he’s worked on it.

He bought a house near Memphis and settled into a maintenance job that he didn’t much care for. He had a wife and family to take care of.

He was living a sweet and sour, lemony version of the American dream. He was doing it his way and on his own.

Josh then had a new job opportunity. It was in a manufacturing plant. The company was looking for a guy like Josh, which was good because Josh was looking for a company like that.

The money was good and for months I’ve been hearing about how much Josh likes his new job.

Then company announced last week that it is closing the plant in January.

But if there’s one thing Josh knows how to do best, it’s how to make lemonade. I have to say, I’m proud of Josh. This, too, shall pass.

• David Porter who can be reached at

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