Kids – and Smiles

The thermometer read 100 degrees today.

Driving slowly through a subdivision on my way home from a meeting I spotted what appeared to be a lemonade stand on the other side of the road.

Remembering my own children’s efforts to make money that way years ago, and how thrilled they were when anybody stopped to buy from them, I did a U-turn and pulled up to the curb.

There were four children in the yard, and two of them, apparently a sister and a younger brother, ran up to my window, and asked, “What do you want?”

Not seeing a legible sign anywhere, I asked, “Well, what do you have for sale?”

They both fought to be first to recite the list, but the big sister, being taller and able to lift her chin up over the edge of my window, was definitely winning.

“Ten cent otter pops, twenty-five cent juice, or seventy-five cent slushies – any color.”
“I’ll take a slushy,” and I handed the girl a one-dollar bill. “And you can keep the change.”
“Okay!” With big grins, they turned to run back to the cooler set up on the sidewalk next to four camp chairs under a large beach umbrella.

I smiled, certain that they’d be back soon for more information, and sure enough, the big sister suddenly turned and ran back to my window.
“What color do you want?”
“Well, what colors do you have?”
“Umm, I think green and orange and red. Maybe blue.”
“I’ll take green.” (I’ve always loved lime-flavored slushies.)

I watched as she hurried back to the cooler, and said something to the other two children at the cooler. I saw them open the cooler and rummage through it, then look at each other, and then they directed the other little girl who hadn’t yet been to the car to come deliver a message.
She ran up to my window. “We’re out of green.”
I waited to hear more, but she just stood there. 
Realizing it was my turn to speak,  I asked, “What colors do you have?”
“Pink . . . and red and maybe orange.”

She’d sounded so sure on the pink that I thought that would be the best choice. “I’ll take pink.”

She hurried back to the three waiting under the umbrella and a discussion ensued. Back she came. “We have to go get the pink so it will be just a minute.” And off she ran into the house.

I could see the other three were flustered, and not wanting to add to their embarrassment, I lowered my head and began reading from a book I had in the car. I must admit I took a few sideways peeks at them, and I noticed that the oldest sister was quite upset, making it clear to the boys that this was not her fault, and that the little brothers should have planned better. In her frustration she backed up against the beach umbrella and knocked it over, which then knocked over two of the chairs. Things were not going well. 
The other little girl hurried out of the house – empty-handed – and reported something to the group. I could see them pulling otter pops out of the cooler and looking to see what colors were available. Not finding any pink, she and the tallest of the boys approached my window. 

“We don’t have that color, either. What color do you want?” 
I thought I’d better do whatever I could to salvage the situation. 

“Oh, it really doesn’t matter. I’ll take whatever you have.”
I could see the relief on their faces as they ran back to the cooler. They pulled a blue and an orange otter pop out of the cooler, tore them open, and squeezed the contents into a paper cup. 

Triumphantly, they handed the cup to me through my window. “Thanks for stopping!”

I had to smile. I don’t think it was the best financial investment I’ve ever made, but those relieved faces – and the cool feeling of slushy in my mouth – made it all worth it.

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