I don’t know of any place left in the world where you can buy two cookies and a glass of lemonade for 25 cents.
Until one day, I took a short drive up the street, in the new town where I live. A young boy with a small table outside of his home yelled “lemonade and cookies!” into my open car window. As I looked back, I realized how vacant the street was around him. I couldn’t believe that kids still did stuff like that. So, I turned my car around.
The late day chatter of NPR played in the background. The interviewer was chatting about being people openly interested in other people, of the same and opposite sex. That’s when I realized, it was the perfect afternoon for a lemonade.
The young boy, hidden behind his glasses, asked quickly if I wanted ice, and I told him either was fine, thinking, ‘ice what a luxury at this simple stand.’ He said, “25 cents!” I couldn’t believe it! Twenty-five cents for the cup and the cookies bagged in pairs in the giant salad bowl on his table. Here I was scrounging up 3 crumpled bucks from my tiny bulging fossil wallet (Not from the money I was currently making but from all the cards and plastic shoved inside). It had to have been more? So I gave him the wad and told him it was a donation. He gladly accepted and put the money in his small metal lunchbox.
That was a deal, I thought. Three bucks was a deal, but 25 cents! I can get cookies at the gas station and they run between $1.50 and $2.50.
He thanked me, and I wandered back to my, still running, car. As I drove away I waved, and he waved back. That’s when I saw a few sets of people turning the corner and walking up the street, and I wondered to myself if they would stop and get lemonade too? Or would they pass by his big sign and condensating jar of thirst quenching lemonade?
For a moment I felt sad thinking they might walk right by with their head down, and not even stop to say hello. That is how I expected most things in the world to operate, lately.
It was much different when I was a child. The ice cream truck would zoom around town in late summer afternoon’s playing a melodic tune and summoning the children. We would leap to the street and hang on the window until the dripping popsicles were in our anxious hands. And by the time we were finished, the swirling dyes would have painted our face. I miss that.
It helped me to realize how important community participation and recognition is. It not only helps young entrepreneurs in their business endeavors, it helps to advocate an unspoken thankfulness between each other as we occupy the same space within any community. The boy working hard behind his lemonade stand left me with a smile, and the appreciation that I was able to meet a kind soul working to provide hydration to his community on a blazing summer day. It made me thankful.
I am a happy, new member, of the Ticonderoga community. I have be given a great opportunity to work with Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance (not too mention many other sister and brother organizations throughout Ticonderoga), helping to introduce new cultural arts initiatives, to bring people together. I hope to share with you what the boy from the lemonade stand has shared with me, appreciation and collective participation within the community.