Newmann: Of lemons and aid
Summer is a great time in the Valley.
The activities are limitless and, best of all, some of them come at no real cost. Among those freebies is hiking. Getting out in the hills in the morning and wandering around is a wonderful way to start a day. And to set a plan for the rest of the day (though the plan can sometimes get sidetracked).
Several days ago, we started out on a rather extended walk. The sun had just made an appearance when we left the house and the weather was pleasantly warm. But the sky, far from being the normal cobalt blue, looked rather ashen. The smoke from the western fires had started to settle in.
We moved along at a respectable clip — not too slow; not too fast (there’s no macho in our gait) — and took in the sights. The same views are never the same; they constantly change, however imperceptibly. The trick is to see the changes.
And so we kept moving along.
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On the last stretch, we dropped down into a residential area. The sun by now had hit full bore and the smoke became thicker. Hot and hazy. We’d gone through our water and both figured a Gatorade (or two) when we got home would be terrific.
And then we saw the lemonade stand. And the sign. “Lemonade. $1.”
The stand was manned by two very young kids, a little girl and a little boy. The kids were accompanied by an amused relative.
The girl wore a time-honored pink waitress uniform (definitely scaled down for her tiny size). They had just set up their stand. And their enthusiasm topped the charts.
“Want some lemonade?”
Boy, did we ever.
But here came the problem … we had no money with us.
So we told them that we’d love to have a cup. But we lacked the funds — and were sure that more affluent folks would stop by and could actually contribute to their business.
And the little girl said, “That’s OK. We’ll give you some for free!” No amount of protest could put either of the kids off of their mission to give us lemonade.
She poured two cups of the best-tasting lemonade ever.
When we told the kids it was the best-tasting lemonade ever, she said, “Since you like it so much, here’s another cup.” Once again, no amount of protest could deter her from pouring that next cup. Both kids were just ecstatic that we liked their lemonade so much.
By this time, their dad had arrived. We explained the situation to him and he just smiled and said, “They don’t understand the profit thing yet.”
But they do understand kindness. And generosity.
We drank the second cup, chatted for a while longer and walked up the hill to our home. And then wrote out a thank-you card, enclosed the requisite funds and drove back to the lemonade stand to drop it off.
One can only hope the kids keep their business going throughout the rest of the summer.
They have a seriously good product.
And their customer service is unrivaled.
Tom Newmann splits his time between Edwards and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter-to-winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at email@example.com.