Thursday, June 12, 2008

Life's Lemonade Obligation

After a trying day in the real world, I buckled myself into the little-blue-car's leopard-skinned helm and wandered off.

Not a mile into my escape, a bright-yellow, hand-printed street-side sign caught my eye ... "Lemonade: Small=25 cents, Large=50 cents" ... There, tucked in the grassy shade of the local bed & breakfast's lawn on the other side of the street, sat a little entrepreneur at a neatly adorned table, smiling brightly at the passing cars.

So I drove passed.

And turned around.

Yep, I'm not much for the tyranny of obligations in life, but I do believe one should always stop at lemonade stands. There's a simple sugary joyful blend of optimism and opportunism at these impromptu places. Yep, the drinks are rarely good, the portions are often small, and the prices are typically high (on a per ounce basis) -- but that analysis is faaaaar from the point. Each little stand is an oasis, nurturing work ethic and hope for the future in their youngest forms -- so, when I go by, I try to go buy ...

I pulled up and hopped out, five quarters in my hand. She popped to her feet -- just a bit of a thing, couldn't have been more than a fourth grader -- and greeted me with smiling anticipation, "Can I help you?"

"I'll take two larges," I said, returning the smile.

"They're 50 cents each," she confirmed with a hopeful look as she pulled two empty cups from the stack that was apparently the larges.

"That'll be great," I said.

She poured my first one and we both observed her pitcher was running low. "Oh, I'm almost out," she said.

I agreed with a nod and said "I hope that's a sign that business has been good ..."

And she beamed. "I have fourteen dollars and eighty five cents," she announced absolutely triumphantly as she poured my second glass.

"Well, here's five quarters," I said. "Four for the lemonade and one for you as a tip. You have a nice day."

She thanked me and I was off, changing course for GrammaB's house to share the story -- and the lemonade -- with a kindred anti-social hobbit. As I pulled around, the little lemonade dealer gave me a smile and a wave that was worth far more than $1.25 ...

And suddenly, the whole tone of the afternoon had changed ... and that, my friends, is the whole point of taking a moment for life's lemonade obligation.

No comments: