There is a neighborhood not far from me that is the “old, nice” neighborhood. For example, Eudora Welty once lived there. They film movies there sometimes. Think large houses, large lots, lots of trees.
I look for their curb alerts on the local listserve because these people throw away better stuff than I can afford to buy. For instance, not long ago, I got a Webber gas grill for free off someone’s curb in this neighborhood because it needed a $6 part.
A while back, I knew I would be going through this neighborhood, so I checked to see if anyone had recently put anything out, and fortune had shined upon me: Someone had posted a picture of some concrete yard art – cherubs, mostly – that would have worked perfectly in the crazy cottage garden I am building. So I set my course on Google maps and headed that way.
When I pulled up, I saw the cherubs sitting on the curb as promised, and across the street were two small children with an honest to God lemonade stand, complete with a homemade sign listing their hours of operation (1PM to 5:30PM) and everything.
I have a rule: I support motivated kids. Kids who cut grass. Kids who want to rake your leaves. Kids who sell things that benefit them (I do hate school fundraisers though). A kid who starts a business or has an interest in a hobby? I am a soft touch for all of that.
So, walking by the yard art on the curb, I walk over to the lemonade stand. The girl (age 6, I would learn) was already pouring me a cup.
We start talking. The little boy (age 4, but he turns 5 next June and so we talked about both having June birthdays) asked me how old I was. I told him 49, and he looked me up and down and then said, “Wooooow”. I resisted asking if he was concerned or impressed, as I feared I did not want to know the answer.
He had lots of questions. Where did I work? Did I have any little boys? Did I like my lemonade? I finished my cup while he was asking the questions, so his sister poured me another, and as she handed it to me reminded me that would be another 50 cents. Apparently, there are no free refills on this block.
I told them I had to leave, and the girl told me I should buy another to take home to my wife. I had a long day ahead of me before I would get home, though, so I bought another lemonade but asked them if I could come back and get it later. They readily agreed to this plan.
As we are talking and these kids are plotting how to ensure I am leaving them both broke and diabetic, a large, nice car pulls up and stops in the middle of the road. The little boy says, “Yay! Another customer!”, but it was not to be. This lady with improbably large hair got out of her car, walked over to the yard art, and put it all in her trunk while I am just standing there, holding my second lemonade and reconsidering my life choices.
“I guess she doesn’t like lemonade”, the girl said, as the land yacht pulled away with my yard art in its trunk.
I guess not.