Sell lemonade (any time it’s hot)

July 9, 2008

Technically today’s featured activity isn’t free, but trust me, you can get cups and powdered mix for less than 5 bucks.  Along with ice from the freezer, a hand-painted sign on the flap from an old cardboard box, and that unused fold-up table from the attic, you’re good to go.

I did not expect to have much fun when M. wanted to set up a lemonade stand on a 90-plus-degree day.  The idea has been percolating in his little brain since he saw a stand on TV a few weeks ago, and I’d run out of excuses for putting it off.  I thought I was golden when yesterday started off rainy, but when the sun broke through the clouds, I agreed to the whole scheme and started lettering our sign so M. could paint it.  That paint was not yet dry when S. went off for a nap and M. and I hit the street corner (as we learned when one of our first customers leaned up against that still-wet sign!  Luckily it was a neighbor girl who accepted a turn behind the counter as restitution for her laundry bill).

To my utter surprise, the stand was lots of fun.  M. was delighted to call out and wave at passing cars, whether or not they stopped.  Everyone waved back, at least, which is fun for any kid.  He had wanted to give the lemonade away; I insisted on a sale. We settled for a very small fee (25 cents for a small cup, 50 for a large).  I stocked an empty lemonade mix container with quarters, not realizing that almost none of his customers would accept change back for their purchases.

We were lucky to have a primo location:  on the corner of two busy-but-not-dangerous streets where there probably had not been a stand for 15 years, and where a scraggy elm gave us enough shade to stay relatively comfortable during the heat of the day.  We sold out of lemonade after about two hours, just when the after-work traffic was starting to pick up, so perhaps next time we’ll go out later.  However, I enjoyed the entire two hours, both the commotion when we were busy and the lulls when we were not, during which M. and I had some great conversations about his “business” and about the people we’d met.

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