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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lemonade Stands

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It was about ten years ago when I was living in Spokane, Washington that I made a decision to stop every time I came across a lemonade stand. This decision came about one day when I was driving and saw three boys staked out next to the street in front of their home. They had set up a makeshift table of boxes and an old board across them on which they’d placed a pitcher of red Kool-Aid and a stack of Styrofoam cups.

I felt the need to stop. Not because I was thirsty, but for an entirely different reason. You see, I’d always wanted to sell lemonade when I was a kid and earn pocketfuls of money from doing so, however, being raised on a back country road for most of one’s childhood limits the number of customers a stand like that would actually acquire. Couple that with a paranoid mom and you can imagine the result…


As I came closer I noticed the message the boys had written on their makeshift sign; it proudly proclaimed, World’s Best Kool-Aid…25¢ a glass.

All three boys straightened up as I pulled over to the curb, obviously trying to impress a potential customer.

“World’s best Kool-Aid?” I asked.

The three nodded their heads vigorously.

“It sure is, sir, we made it ourselves!” one of the boys proclaimed proudly. “With sugar and everything.”

“Really? Well, in that case, I think I need to buy a glass.”

At once the boys set into action, one getting the little white cup ready while another carefully lifted the pitcher and began to pour that red, sticky liquid into it all the way up to the brim. The last boy took the cup and carried it carefully to my car, followed by the other two.

As I carefully took the overfilled-cup I said, “One quarter for the three of you? That’s going to be hard to split. I’ll tell you what; if you give me a couple of smiles to go along with this, I think that would be worth an extra 50¢”

All three boys broke into the widest grins I’d ever seen. For a moment I thought that the boy in the middle’s face was going to split right open.

Luckily, it didn’t.

“Now that was worth the extra 50¢!” I handed over the three shiny coins.

As I drove away, balancing the cup precariously in my non-steering hand, I watched the three boys through my rear-view mirror give each other high-fives and celebrate over their tripled profits, slapping each other on the back.

Photo from: http://flickr.com/photos/lorenzodom/33805540/

I smiled as I maneuvered my car through the heavy traffic for several blocks. When I was out of sight of the boys, I pulled over to the side of the road and dumped the Kool-Aid onto the grass.

After all, I didn’t stop for Kool-Aid; I’d stopped to support childhood.

It was the best 75¢ I’ve ever spent.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Now that is sweet! In Cali, the kids charge $1...and its worth it.. the fact most pick the hottest day to set up their stand and sit for hours on end...

Rachel said...

LOL! How many times I sat behind my little table, waiting, anticipating the one or two drivers who 'may' drive by.... and when they did, oh the disappointment when they didn't stop! But! When that one driver did! The feelings of excitement that made you sit for several more hours in the hopes that maybe, just maybe! One more car would drive by and stop.

When my baby sis was little she did the same as I. I'd take pitty on her knowing full well that it would most likely be yet another fruitless attempt and so I'd go out to her and plunk in a few dollars.

Country kids and lemonade stands. Not a high profit business ya know! Especially when you are sitting next to a dusty dirt road, in the heat of the day, and ice cold lemonade or kool-aid that you slowly drink yourself.

Richard & Natalie said...

People like you make my kids day when they set up shop out here on our corner.
"Supporting childhood"...I'll have to repeat that phrase when they drive me crazy to make them a pitcher of Kool-Aid every 20 minutes in the summer.

Sue said...

I'm a sucker for lemonade stands, too, and I think we are not alone.

Two summers ago, my grandson opened one on the boardwalk at our beach house reunion, and he made a bundle.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

@Jason: btw my kids and others on our block sold rocks.. would u believe people stopped and bought rocks they dug up from the backyard? they sold them for 25 cents... they did better at that then trying to sell lemonade.. guess the people were a bit leery whether the kids could make lemonade...

M-Cat said...

Always ALWAYS stop at the lemonade stand. Even if you just toss it out the window - the kids love the fact that you showed interest in them!

Lori said...


jayniemoon said...

reminds me of when you posted about putting a quarter in the return of the vending machines. I still think that idea is brilliant.

diane rene said...

supporting childhood - I love that phrase!!

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