21 MayWould You Like Some Lemonade?
I have five acres of the fastest growing wild grasses that you’ve ever seen. I’m not talking lawn here. Weeds is the word. Five acres of them. For twenty years I’ve tried to bring a portion of this five acres under my control. I’ve pulled, poisoned, laid down weed block, laid down gravel, put in brick walkways, and more. Now I find myself mowing my gravel and bricks. Really. After all these years I’ve realized that taming my land is like trying to create peace in the Middle East—it’s not likely to happen. I’ve resigned myself to mowing two of the five acres. The grasses will be back next year, but it feels good to shred them this year. The place looks nicer and I get my exercise.
Yesterday I just finished an hours hard mowing out front. I was sweating and breathing hard when I pushed the mower to the garage door. I wanted to refill the gas tank before attacking the wild grass that was swallowing my wife’s gardens. My adrenaline was up. I was in attack mode.
As I released the safety lever and my mower shut down I thought I heard a voice calling to me. I wrinkled my brow, but ignored the voice as an echo of the growling lawn mower motor in my ringing ears. As I bent over to unscrew the lid of the gas tank I heard the voice again.
“Would you like some lemonade?”
I turned to face the street. Twenty-five yards away a little girl, maybe eight years old, stood. She wore sandals, shorts, and a summer pullover shirt with shiny hearts on the front.
“What?” I called.
“Would you like some lemonade?” Her voice was small, hopeful.
I didn’t want any lemonade. If lemonade did sound good to me I didn’t want to stop to get it. I had acres of eighteen inch grass to mow down. It would be twenty-four inches by morning.
I’ve grown harder as I’ve grown older. When asked at the checkout stand if I would like to donate to Save the Children Fund I don’t hesitate to say, “Not today, thank you.”
Those very words were on my tongue, when for some reason I hesitated. Part of the reason was curiosity. Where had this girl come from? I had seen kids selling lemonade the last couple of days, but they were blocks away from my home. These kids waved at cars hoping they would stop as they passed. This girl stood before me, no lemonade in sight, wanting to sell me lemonade.
“Where are you selling lemonade?” I asked. I walked toward her so we wouldn’t have to keep yelling to each other. I noticed that her upper teeth angled at forty-five degrees out of her mouth. I don’t think she could have successfully bitten an apple. She had braces. Her teeth made her look funny, but she wasn’t shy at all. I liked that.
“We’re over at the Baxter’s,” she said, pointing.
The Baxter’s were a block and a half away. It seemed strange to me that she would come so far to seek me out. How was I supposed to get the lemonade?
“How much you charge?”
I checked my pockets for change. Nothing.
“I’ve been going door to door,” she said, smiling shyly. “Nobody’s home.”
This impressed me. This girl was willing to go door to door to sell lemonade? She was innocent. People would have turned her down at each door because she had no lemonade with her to give them. They wouldn’t have been willing to interrupt whatever they were doing to come over to her stand for Kool-Aid. It seemed to me she was spared a lot of rejection by people not being home.
“It’s Saturday afternoon,” I said. “People aren’t home on Saturday afternoons.” I pulled my wallet out. There was a dollar in there. “Okay, I’ll buy some lemonade,” I said. “Let me get my bike and I’ll ride over.”
“No. I’ll run it over to you.” She was excited.
I pictured her running a paper cup of lemonade two blocks, spilling as she ran.
“It’s okay. I’ll get my bike and meet you there.”
She took off, her little legs flashing in the sun.
A minute later I arrived on my bike. The girls bounced up and down happily as I pulled up. I thought I was doing them a favor. Then I saw their wad of money.
“Eighteen dollars,” they told me. It appeared these girls could sell lemonade.
“We have watermelon and raspberry,” the second girl told me. “The raspberry is,” she put her fingers to her lips and did the ‘delicious’ movement with her fingers, “muuahh, perfect.”
“I’ll take raspberry,” I said.
A third girl, a little sister, filled up one of those tiny bathroom paper cups from a Tupperware jug and handed it to me. Ahhh, warm, delicious, over sweetened raspberry Kool-Aid.
“Do you want your cents?” The first girl was asking me if I wanted my change.
“Give me a watermelon this time.” I had worked up a thirst mowing.
“I saw you mowing and thought, ‘He needs lemonade,’” said the first girl.
As I drank I saw a leg sticking out from under the table.
“It’s my little sister.”
I leaned over and looked. She was in the shade reading a book. She didn’t even glance at me.
I knew the second girl, but not the first. I asked questions to learn more about her family.
“We have Joneses, Meekers, and Wrights in our house,” she said. “We’re all just family.”
“You make my house sound boring,” I answered. “All we have are Andersons.”
I drank two more lemonades to make an even dollar. We discussed entrepreneurship, overhead, and profit. They had no overhead. The second girl’s mom had given them Kool-Aid that was “nearly expired, anyway,” so they were doing really well profit wise.
otally charmed by these young business ladies I asked for a picture. They happily agreed. Then I bid them farewell and rode back to the battle that awaited me behind my house.
Books by Tory Anderson
Joey Johanaby thought his life ended when his dad died. Being forced to move into a mysterious, old, Southern mansion in Tennessee seems to make things worse. With Mrs. Johanaby struggling to learn new job skills Joey is given the difficult task of looking after the twins for the summer. The mansion is home to more than Joey and his family. Ghostly and magical characters from the mansion’s past take an interest in Joey and his struggles. They want to help, but their quirky methods are questionable. After the family is almost torn apart by a near-tragedy Joey obtains a magic map. With this map Joey goes on a journey that he might not return from—a journey that changes him forever.
Things haven’t been the same for Jacob since his mother quit talking, eating, and getting out of bed. He is confused one morning when she wakes him with the words, “We’re leaving.” Jacob finds himself on a journey to a small town from his mother’s childhood where she hopes he will find safety before she dies. In a new town, a new school, and with a mother losing her battle with depression, Jacob’s life is turned upside-down. Lace Pearlshom, the social outcast from Jacob’s homeroom, adds to the confusion with her uncanny way of appearing out of shadows and disappearing up blind alleys. She pushes her way, unwelcome, into Jacob’s life. Lace may hold the key to saving Jacob’s mother, but can he accept the cost? In the unlikely friendship that develops Jacob learns the secrets behind Lace’s mysteries and comes to understand the tragic circumstances of her life. His efforts to help her unexpectedly brings in the Child Protective Services which is determined to take Lace away. Can a friendship this deep ever be broken? Can two broken lives make the world whole?
After fifteen years traveling the world in the high tech industry, Tory Anderson found himself driving his first busload of kids. What started as an act of desperation turned into a life changing experience that led to courage he was lacking, and love he didn’t know he had. Bus Driver Diaries puts you in the driver’s seat with Tory to experience the world that unfolds on a bus in-between school and home. Amid the noise and frustration you will find a world of beauty, wonder, and humor. After reading this book, every sighting of a school bus will bring a smile to your face.