Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Lessons of a Boy's First Lemonade Stand

Today was my grandson’s first experience with that quintessential sign of summer: the lemonade stand.  He hung in there for a couple of hours, during most of which he sat waiting as car after car simply passed by – some waving, some honking, but none stopping for a little boy’s first offering in the world of exchange.

But perseverance won the day and he is $13 richer (half to go to his piggy bank and the other half to Food Bank, or in Rowen’s words, “to the poor people who need food”) for the experience and dedicated to having another go, maybe tomorrow – maybe in the church parking lot.

Watching this wee boy of my heart, I thought about lessons.  And they weren’t about capitalism or even about the value of hard work.

The lessons were about people.  Lots of folks wished him well, evidenced by their friendly honks and waves.  They were appreciated for a time, but after awhile, you just want someone to stop.  So to the fellow who pulled up in his truck just to say hi and who offered up 50 cents even though he didn’t want a lemonade, many thanks – you made a wee boy’s day.  And the first customers – from the big city in northern Virginia who stopped and turned around, who chatted and took a picture – you are rock stars!  And to my neighbor Cotten who stopped as a dedicated lemonade stand sponsor and customer from way back, a special thanks.

I’m not sure what my little guy learned today, but I know what I’ll take away from the experience:

1. From his Gran (yes, me, the preacher lady): “We don’t want your honks; we want your money.”

2. Waiting for a customer can feel like you’re waiting for Godot.

3. The people who frequent lemonade stands are kind.

4. It only takes a little bit to capture a child’s imagination, commitment and heart.

5. It’s like Tom Sawyer’s white-washed fence: once you get going, everyone wants to be a part of it.

6. When you live in a small place, everything and everyone are connected, so your grandson’s money box turns out to have been a gift made and presented to his Gran by the father of one of his lemonade customers, who recognizes the craftsmanship right away.

Lemonade – sweet with just the right amount of tart and cold – the perfect serving on a hot summer’s day on a country road.  Hope you’ll stop for a cup next time you’re by this way.

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