Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Industrious Elves

I was walking home the other day, and I was surprised to see something that which I believed extinct: A lemonade stand.
In front of an impressive house, two flaxen-haired little girls, about five or so, stood proudly with their babysitter, a smiling Hispanic woman. Perhaps the girls read it in a book, or the nanny needed to entertain them; in any case, a cardboard box was flipped over, with a pitcher, some cups, and even cookies atop a checkered cloth. 

As they saw me come closer, they turned expectantly, whispering excitedly, giggling hopefully. "How much?" I inquired. "A dollar for a cup of lemonade and a cookie," the woman cheerfully said.

A dollar? So much for the bygone days of five-cent lemonade, when a quarter was considered extravagant. I suppose one has to factor in inflation. Ah well. 

I cheerfully forked over a George Washington for cloying Country Time mix but a rather good oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. One of the little girls, however, felt cheated; as I continued on, I heard her whine, "It was supposed to be two dollars!"

There really is no replacement for the satisfaction one gets from earning honest money. Those children did not lack for anything in their luxe surroundings; probably their room was lined with every toy to grace this earth, yet they hungered for the negligible bills of cash in exchange for their earnest efforts (although they didn't exactly give me hand-squeezed lemonade). 

When I get my paycheck, I feel that same glee as a five-year-old with a lemonade stand.    

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