When Life Gives You Lemonade.

Although summer’s heat isn’t diminished in the dog days the season is definitely winding down. The mornings are darker, and the sunsets sooner, which reminds me of when I was a kid. My room was at the back of the house and our house sat on the edge of a hill so that looking out was like looking down into a bowl. And some evenings or late afternoons throughout the year I’d watch the sunset, and watch how the sun moved to the south—meaning it didn’t really always set in the west, and I realized adults lied to me, but that’s another story.

Something else that took me back to childhood is the other day my wife and I were on our way home and passed a couple of kids with a lemonade stand in their front yard. We didn’t stop—I don’t think either of us had change and I’m not sure the kids could take a credit card unless we bought a lot of lemonade—but there were some people there so I hoped the young entrepreneurs were doing well. At the very least they were smart enough to stake out a corner lot, although they were probably lucky that it was just where they happen to live. It would be really embarrassing for a new startup to be shut down early by a guy yelling at the owners to get out of his yard, which I understand has happened to a lot of juice companies. In fact when I was four some older kids on the next street set up a stand selling Kool-Aid for a dollar a cup, which meant they only had to sell one to repay all their investors, but the operation was shut down because of lousy marketing. If they’d promoted it as an artisanal flavored water made in small batches by a fair-trade company, well, they still would have failed because this was the seventies, but at least they could have said they were decades ahead of their time.

What I also remembered was a few years later when my friend Troy and I decided to set up a lemonade stand in my front yard. I’m not sure why we thought this was a good idea, and the only reason we even got the idea was probably because the front yard lemonade stand is a classic piece of Americana even though lemons are native to southeast Asia and lemonade originated in India—although that could just as easily be part of its Americanness, a country that’s one big melting pitcher.

It was probably boredom more than anything else that inspired Troy and me. We weren’t all that interested in sales or even crafting our product, which I’m pretty sure was made from a powdered mix that had never been near a lemon. I’m not even sure we got the right mix, just that we got some powder that smelled lemony and mixed it with water, and it’s probably just as well we didn’t sell any because we didn’t have the insurance to cover the possibility of someone drinking laundry detergent. Our stand consisted of a dilapidated card table that I’m surprised could hold up the plastic cups, let alone the pitcher of lemonade, and a few years later it did collapse under the weight of a game of gin rummy.

We stood next to our stand in the front yard for hours, or maybe half hours, or maybe half an hour, before realizing that running a lemonade stand was even more boring than just sitting around being bored so we used the lemonade to water the maple tree in the front yard, and it only occurs to me now, writing this, that putting our stand in my yard was a lousy idea because I lived on a cul-de-sac and Troy lived on a corner.

At this point I feel there should be some wrap-up, some lesson learned, or mission accomplished, or deed done—something other than poisoning a maple tree which was hardy enough that it not only survived but turned the laundry detergent into a pest repellent. There’s really nothing to be said about our ersatz Norman Rockwell moment, though;  it was just something that we came up with on our own and did to spend a little time before we moved onto something else, which is what summer is for.

 

8 Comments

  1. The Huntress915

    Very good lesson taught here Christopher, it’s never easy to begin a business unless you have the staff to start it for you. Delegation was probably not in a four year old’s repertoire, but you can say you tried.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s a good point: we may not have had the best location but what really made the difference was the lack of proper staff. We also should have had a marketing department.

      Reply
  2. Muresan

    When Life Gives You Lemonade….Be Happy And Enjoy!
    Muresan recently posted…Liste, liste, liste…My Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Acesta este un sfat foarte bun!

      Reply
  3. mydangblog

    You don’t need a life lesson to share such lovely nostalgia. Or maybe that’s the lesson–that there are simpler times that make us happy to look back on. At any rate, I never had a lemonade stand but I like to stop at them whenever I can, no matter how watery the lemonade is:-)
    mydangblog recently posted…My Week 256: I Walk The (Land) LineMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you for that–I spent hours writing and rewriting this trying to squeeze some meaning out of the childhood lemonade stand and just couldn’t do it. Although I think you stopping at them whenever you can has given me the idea that there is a reward in just being part of the community.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    Thanks for making something delicious out of something else, Chris, which is what your blog is for.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad for this delicious comment and that you’ve squeezed something out of my simple story.

      Reply

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