The other day, as I circled the block for parking, I saw a little girl sitting on a stoop selling lemonade. She had a table with a table cloth, pitcher, cups, etc. No handwritten sign. No pricing available. She looked bored; not in a kid sitting in the sun kind of way, but in a slightly disturbing adult way: legs crossed nonchalantly, frowning, squinting at the traffic, uncomfortable on the concrete steps. Then a guy came out of the building she was in front of, lit up a cigarette (?) and leaned against the wall next to her. I stared at this tableau a split second too long after the light turned green and was honked on my way.
The girl seemed stuck in my head following this brief encounter. I was sad that something I always think of as a wholesome summertime activity seemed so tainted in this gritty context. I thought about my childhood -- how I could roam freely, how I wouldn't have nasty men smoking questionable substances at my lemonade stand, how I would have been sitting in a lawn chair or on the grass if it were my shop. I despaired. Well, not really, but it was a bit of a bummer.
And then, life reminds you of how lovely it can still be. Pete and I encountered Jackson's Snack Shack (Voted #1 on the North Shore by his family!), and my faith in sunny summertime memories was restored. This boy did it right -- cash register, precious apron from Lowe's, nametag, even a box collecting donations for an animal shelter.
Lemonade was even offered in two sizes: small, large. Pete bought me a large and I blissfully listened to the ice click in my plastic cup, so promptly poured for me by Jackson's efficient little hand, as we drove along the coast. I can't think of a better way to spend $.50 than on a large lemonade drunk in the car with the windows down, looking at the sea...