Free Lemonade

The sound of the Casio keyboard drifts up through the open screen door to the desk where I’m working on a Sunday morning. It’s some random series of notes hitting the air in electronic glee. Almost like the sound you’d hear pumping from a ride at a carnival.

Their joy can be felt from the distance between where they play and I sit steeped in spreadsheets. It crescendos when the next car passes on the street and their collective voices (one eight years old’s, still perfecting the ‘r’ sound, and one adult man’s, still perfecting English).

“Free lemonade! Aloha! Free lemonade! Whooo wooo!”

Jeb and the Bohemian have decided to create a lemonade stand. But with the Bohemian around there is a twist, of course. He suggests they give it away. To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought to make the lemonade free and I’m pretty certain Jeb would never have gone for it had I thought of such a philanthropic idea.

But with the Bohemian making the suggestion, Jeb’s more inclined to comply. And the notion seems to be a hit. I can hear cars continually pulling over and stopping. I occasionally peek out the window to see yet another passerby sipping lemonade and smiling with them.

At one point the Bohemian comes inside to replenish supplies. He’s slightly breathless with excitement. “People love it! We’re running out!”

He needs more cups but we only had a few left over from Jeb’s birthday party and they’ve all been taken with the free handouts. He scours the shelves and begins pulling small glass jars, figuring they’ll just have to stay and visit while they enjoy their fresh-squeezed beverage.

There is a coffee tin tip jar factored into this joyous giving, which Jeb made sure to offer as an option. Apparently it works.

“He’s made something like twenty dollars already,” the Bohemian tells me, astonished. “People just put a few dollars in the jar.”

We hear a car pull up below. “Ohh…he’s got customers, I’ve got to go!” And with that, the Bohemian is out the door, recycled glass jars in hand, leaving me in the back draft of his elation.

They gave away the juice till it was gone. All told, they guessed that about 30 people came by the free lemonade stand (“minimum!” the Bohemian exclaims).

We marvel at the beauty of giving something away and experiencing what comes right back in the process. None of us had ever done a lemonade stand before (and I guess I, technically, have still not had the pleasure – only a witness this time). How fascinating to see what happiness can come from sharing squeezed lemons – for both the giver and the drive-by recipients.

They quenched the thirst of neighbors and tourists. Young and old. Men and women. All those curious enough to stop and see just what it was that the bearded Bohemian and smiling eight year old were waving about.

Lemons into lemonade with electronic keyboard tunes.  New friends and smiling faces on a Sunday morning.

Nothing like giving it away.

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